I am 23 years old, and I have done things I am not proud of. But I have always had a daily relationship with God. I helped charities of all kinds, gave to local churches including my own, sponsored children in Haiti and Jamaica and helped yearly at local soup kitchens and homeless shelters. I helped my family and friends financially on a weekly basis and happily. I was joyful that I could help others and especially organizations witnessing for Christ. Then, unexpectedly, the bottom fell out of my world. In the last six months, I lost everything. I lost my job, my apartment, my friends, and my relationship with Christ. I lost a rich and extravagant lifestyle. I sought after God during this time to make me strong enough to endure all of this. It seemed that the more I prayed, the more God rejected me. I had to leave my home state and move to a sin-ridden city for work. My husband of one year came along; but because he is a legal immigrant and still learning English, finding work is proving harder than we thought for him. I think I would be able to endure if my relationship with God had not suffered the worst of this situation. When I prayed, nothing happened. Nothing changed, and everything would get ten times worse. I began to feel incredible rejection from God, as if I had done something, committed a terrible crime or fell from His grace somehow. I begged Him to reveal this sin if I had committed it. I begged for a revelation, or some sort of divine help. But the more I lost, the drier I became. It has been all of six months since I felt God's presence in my life. I feel I walk through a never-ending desert in my life. My hope is gone, and I am in despair. I pray and I read, but still nothing changes in my spiritual life. Please give your advice as to what I might be doing wrong, and what I can do to re-establish my relationship with God.
Before providing some guidance, it is important to know that God is more interested in a relationship with each one of us than we are in a relationship with Him. He has encouraged us to seek Him; and He has promised that if we will seek for Him with all our heart, we will find Him. When we ignore Him, the only way God can get our attention is to allow us to suffer. It is amazing how we turn to God when situations are beyond our control. Even Christians ignore God on occasions. God may be saying, “I want a deeper relationship with you!” Here are several things that you should consider.
First, make sure that you are a Christian. We become Christians when we believe in Jesus Christ and yield ourselves to Him. It is common to hear people say that they are Christian. “Christian” is used almost like an adjective and not a noun. Many people seem to think that being a Christian is determined by how one lives life – by doing right and avoiding wrong. But God says that a person is a Christian by what the person believes and to whom that person submits. A Christian is one who believes that Jesus is God and is willing to do whatever Jesus asks. I would encourage you to explore the links “Searching for God” and “Evidence You Are a Christian.”
As you already know, sin can damage your relationship with God. You indicate that you have asked God to reveal any sin that you may have committed. Our sins damage our relationship with Him and only a heart-felt confession or admission of guilt will make everything okay. Therefore, you might want to ask yourself, “Was I serious when I confessed my sin(s)?” God responds to heart-felt confessions. God responds to sincerity. It is possible when we are in pain “to confess our sin” for the wrong reason – for the purpose of eliminating the pain and not for the purpose of being righteous. God is interested in the latter and not the former.
If you are confident that the first two considerations are okay, then you should look at your heart. I have found that God will allow my life’s “ship” to start sinking when I have refused to forget everything else and submit myself only and completely to Him. Are you fighting to have peace, joy, and for everything to “stop going wrong”? God may allow your “ship” to continue sinking until you are willing to let go of everything in your life except Him. God allowed Job to go through misery; when Job complained, God rebuked Him. I have found that God will let me suffer until I finally yield and am willing to accept whatever He has for me. We are usually more interested in peace, joy, comfort, and a “good life” than we are in God. The Apostle Paul learned this lesson well and then wrote these words,
. . . I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am. (NASB) Philippians 4:11
God also asks us to always rejoice and to be thankful in every situation, even the difficult ones (1 Thess 5:16-18). We need to thank Him for “sinking ships” also. It is called submission. God may be saying, “I want your submission, and I want a deeper relationship with you.”
I have discovered that God will chase after me until I stop demanding anything that is not Him. He wants us to ask for nothing and to seek nothing but Him and nothing more. Are you there? God may be trying to get your attention. When you are really willing to accept whatever He allows into your life and to be satisfied with only Him, then your “life’s ship” may stop sinking. Once you have thrown all of your “possessions” overboard, He will be all that is left – just you and Him. Is that what you want?