Do you ever feel like God doesn’t care? Someone says, “God is good.” And you respond, “All the time!”
And yet part of your heart isn’t tracking. If God really cared, wouldn’t things be better? What do you do when you feel like God doesn’t care?
Sometimes we face some really tough stuff in this life:
You lose a loved one in a terrible and unnecessary accident
Your child is born with a devastating birth defect
You get cheated out of property or life savings that you deserved and worked for
Your marriage collapses even after you’ve prayed and worked hard to save it
Is God good? Is He good when you still don’t have a job after a year of looking? Is He good when your spouse refuses marriage counseling and serves you with divorce papers? Is He good when you see no way out of a legal battle that may cost you everything? Is He good when the doctors say, “There’s nothing more we can do?”
Intellectually you believe God is good. All the time. But for some, your feelings just won’t catch up. Your mind tries to say it’s true, and you try and speak positively about how God will be there for you.
But when you’re alone and the problems mount up, if you’re really honest with yourself you feel alone in the most ultimate sense. Whether you say it out loud or not, sometimes your feelings say, “If God were a good God, why doesn’t He come through for me now?”
How do you take what your mind believes about God – that He is good, that He cares, and that He cares about you – and make that belief affect your feelings enough to help you survive.
Why Does it Seem He Doesn’t Care?
Many believers have gotten the message, consciously or unconsciously, that if God cared, life would be easy. Problems would go away, and they would have what they wanted and needed.
But that’s not what God has promised. It’s not the life Jesus’ followers have ever had. Troubles, even the most severe troubles you can imagine, are not evidence that God doesn’t care. Just ask Jacob, Moses, Joshua, Elijah, John the Baptist, James, Peter, and Paul. Just ask Jesus. What we are promised is the same thing God’s children have always been promised – His presence and peace in the middle of troubles. Read the end of Hebrews 11; some of those with great faith lost everything in this life. (See Hebrews 11:35-40Open in Logos Bible Software (if available))
And one more thing we are promised, that God will truly make everything right in the end. Some things are made right now, and some things are made right in eternity. But here’s a spoiler alert; Jesus wins! Of that we can be absolutely certain. And if we stick with Him, we win too.
So in the meantime, what do you do when you feel God doesn’t care? How do you handle that? There’s no formula. And God Himself must ultimately answer those questions. But here are some action steps that can help.
If You Feel God Doesn’t Care
Know you’re in good company. Some of God’s best friends questioned Him, such as Moses (Exodus 5:22-23Open in Logos Bible Software (if available)), David (Psalm 42:9-11Open in Logos Bible Software (if available)), Martha (John 11:21Open in Logos Bible Software (if available)), and others. Feeling alone or questioning God doesn’t mean you don’t believe Him. Remember that His shoulders are big enough to scream at and cry on, and to carry your questions.
Get some rest. The world often looks darkest when we’re exhausted. Elijah lost his nerve and ran away when he was tired even after He had seen God do something spectacular. (1 Kings 19:1-8Open in Logos Bible Software (if available)) You will likely see things a little differently after some rest.
Rehearse what God has done for you in the past. Our human minds often focus on what is in front of us, and we need to remind ourselves of what we DO know about Him. Ideally you’ve kept a journal of what God has done for you in the past. If not, start one now! (Psalm 77:10-12Open in Logos Bible Software (if available))
Let other people’s faith strengthen yours. When you are facing sorrow or tragedy, sometimes other people don’t know what to say to you. But as you’re able, talking with others who have come through troubles with their faith intact can help you see things in perspective.
Let God carry you. God understands you’re only human. (Psalm 103:14Open in Logos Bible Software (if available)) Here’s where you can make a conscious choice to leave your case in God’s hands, and know that He will not let you fall, no matter what your feelings may say.
God never enjoys it when His children hurt. But He does sometimes honor us with the privilege of demonstrating our faith when things get tough.
Remember: the coach puts his most trustworthy player in the toughest position, knowing he may get beaten up. The government sends its most reliable and best-trained soldiers into the most dangerous situations, knowing the risks they will face.
Could God be trusting you with a test?
And are you choosing to trust His presence even in the middle of troubles?