Four Steps to Making It Through When It Feels God Has Forsaken You

Ecclesiastes 3:1 tells us,

To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven.

 The chapter goes on to explain.  A time to be born and a time to die.  A time to reap and a time to sow.  A time to speak and a time to keep quiet.  And while the following principle is not mentioned in this particular passage, its truth is echoed throughout the Bible:  a time for us to be thrilled with our lives and a time for us to wonder if this is all there is.

You've been there, right?  Sometimes, life seems perfect.  A great spouse, a beautiful home, money in the bank, a healthy body, loving children, a faithful church.  Absolute perfection!  And in these times, you happily tell everyone, "No, I wouldn't change a thing."  But let's face it, life is seldom perfect.  More often than not, we find ourselves saying, "I wish. . . "  Yes, the truth is some days we endure life rather than enjoy it.  We wake up in the morning and sigh, dreading the oncoming day of bills to pay, doctor's appointments, rowdy children, ungrateful spouses, and the monotony of nothing new to look forward to.  It is during these stretches we look up to Heaven and question, "God, where are you?  I know this is the day you've made, and I should rejoice and be glad in it, but how can I?  I'm so tired and weary.  My life is ho-hum, and it seems there's no escape.  Please help me, Lord, or at least let me know You've heard my cries.  I don't know how much longer I can take this!"

What do we do on those imperfect days?  How do we carry on when it seems like even God has forsaken us and left us stuck in the stress?  Fortunately, Psalm 44:17-20 gives us a four-step guide to follow.  The beginning of the chapter describes how God led the children of Israel out of Egypt and protected them through the wilderness.  But then it goes on to discuss how they passed through the hands of various enemies because of their disbelief and disobedience to God's commands and sometimes just because it was part of God's plan.  By verse 17, things look grim, but check out what the psalmist says,

All this is come upon us; yet have we not forgotten thee, neither have we dealt falsely in thy covenant. Our heart is not turned back, neither have our steps declined from thy way; Though thou hast sore broken us in the place of dragons, and covered us with the shadow of death. If we have forgotten the name of our God, or stretched out our hands to a strange god;

Notice, first off, that the psalmist is not pretending like everything is fine.  He's not putting on a false smile and shoving his problems aside.  He acknowledges "All this is come upon us."  No sugar-coating; only truth.  But the powerful part of this verse is that he doesn't stop there (like many of us do when life doesn't go our way).  Instead, he implements this life-giving plan.

1) Remember Who God is and what He's done.

yet have we not forgotten thee

When times are rough, and it seems that God has forsaken, stop and remember.  Think back to the names and attributes of God.  Bring to mind all the times He's helped you in the past.  Fill your heart and mind with His promises, knowing that God does not lie.  In other words, spend less time focusing on the problem and more time focusing on God, even if you can't see Him yet in your current situation.

2) Keep doing the right things.

neither have we dealt falsely in thy covenant

I don't know about you, but when life turns upside down, I have the inclination to turn away from the things I know to be right.  For example, when facing a health crisis, I'll stop taking my vitamins and exercising, arguing that those things are apparently not working.  Some will stop serving God or going to church because they feel it isn't helping them any.  But we shouldn't stop doing right when things aren't going our way.  If you think about it, the behavior is downright childish.  But, it's also natural.  Still, we must fight the temptation to withdraw from the right.  It is often those things that will eventually turn things around for us.

3) Don't quit.

Our heart is not turned back, neither have our steps declined from thy way

Not only does heartache make us want to stop doing the right things, it often makes us want to give up on everything.  We're tired of working hard and getting nowhere.  We're sick of fighting just to make ends meet.  It's too difficult, so why keep trying?  As Job's wife suggested, we're ready to curse God and die.  But quitting is never a good choice.  We must be strong and keep going, even if it's a struggle to get out of bed.  Take it one step at a time, but whatever you do, don't quit!

4) Don't turn to false idols.

If we have forgotten the name of our God, or stretched out our hands to a strange god;

I know what you're thinking--we don't do that kind of thing anymore, right?  WRONG!  Not all idols are made of stone or wood or even gold.  An idol is anything in our lives that takes the place of God.  For example, if we turn to something else to find peace, joy or comfort, that "thing" is an idol in our lives.  For me, this idol typically takes the form of junk food and energy drinks.  When life gets me down, it's not uncommon to see me stuffing cookies in my face and washing them down with caffeine-laden sodas.  I tell myself I need these things to help me get through, to cope with the stress of life, but the truth is they only make things worse.  And the guilt I feel over seeking comfort in these things instead of from God is overwhelming.  If you're like me, you get clever in trying to justify your idolatry and say things like, "Well, God wasn't helping me, but this does."  Lies!  We know it.  But when life is hard, it's easier to believe the lies than it is the truth.  That's why it's so important to have this battle plan in place before the fight even begins.

My friend, I wish every day could be filled with roses and butterflies and singing birds, but life's not that way.  There will be hard days--or even weeks, months or years.  There will be times when you question whether God cares or hears.  I'm here to remind you that He does and that you will get through this if you'll follow the psalmist's plan for keeping things in the proper perspective.  Sometimes life gets ugly, but that doesn't mean we have to get ugly alongside it.

Chasing Peace

Peace.  It's a word (though not necessarily a concept) that is highly visible this time of year.  We see it in lights of red, blue and green.  It is neatly scrolled upon thousands of Christmas cards.  It graces our carols in phrases like "Peace on earth, goodwill to men" and "Sleep in heavenly peace."  But what is peace?  The online dictionary gives a five-fold answer.  Peace is. . .

1) a state of tranquility or quiet

2) freedom from oppressive thoughts or emotions

3) harmony in personal relations

4) a state or period of mutual concord between governments or nations

5) used interjectionally to ask for silence or calm or as a greeting or farewell

I've been praying for peace a lot lately.  Peace on earth would certainly be wonderful, but I'm afraid my motives have been more selfish.  My prayers have been focused more on the first two definitions: tranquility and freedom from oppressive thoughts and emotions.  Yes, it would seem that the most wonderful time of the year is not necessarily the most peaceful time of the year.  With shopping and dinners and caroling and cantatas and the list goes on, who has time to be tranquil or quiet?  And with the million things to do and places to be, whose mind isn't running around in circles?

In my Bible reading this morning, I came across a verse I've read a million times, but a particular phrase struck a chord in me and caused me to question, "How do you do that?" Psalm 34:14 says,

Depart from evil, and do good; seek peace, and pursue it.

Depart from evil. - That's pretty self-explanatory.  Run away from bad things.  Don't do evil.

Do good.  - Again, no real explanation needed here.

Seek peace. - Yes, I get that.  In fact, that's what I've been doing.  I've been praying for peace in my heart and seeking to find peace in the midst of the holiday craziness (as well as all the other craziness life throws our way.)

Pursue it. - Say what now?  Pursue peace?  What does that mean?  How do you chase after something that has no physical form?

That, my friends, is the question I pose to you today.  (I know, you thought I was going to tell you the answer, but I'm not going to make it that easy.)  I want you to meditate on this thought today and leave a comment when you have an answer.  What does it mean to you to pursue peace?  I can't wait to hear what you have to say.  And remember, your answer may be a help and encouragement to someone else, so please take a moment to give us your thoughts.

God Can Resolve It - A Guest Post

Today I want to do something a little different.  As I prayed and thought about what to post today, nothing was coming to my mind or heart.  When I checked my email, I found a message that I desperately needed (and oddly enough went right along with my lesson about the plankton) and felt I should share it with you.  Below is the email I received this morning from the best-selling author, Eileen Wilder.  Let me say, I have read some Eileen's books and listened to a few of her podcasts, and I've been happy with her message.  Even though I have just released an entire series of books on anxiety and depression, I still intend to purchase Eileen's book, The Pivot Plan.  Maybe I'll do a review of it in a future post.  But for now, take heart is the message she shared today, and enjoy the video at the end of one of my favorite newer songs.

Have you ever felt like you had gotten "victory" in an area...only to find out it resurfaced?

...Recently I found myself struggling with issues I thought I had totally conquered (overwhelm & anxiety) and as it kept surfacing I was getting more and more frustrated!

I was getting mad at myself. "Why is this happening? Where am I missing it?"

And to be totally honest with you...

I began believing that it would never change. That I would wrestle with feeling overwhelm and anxiety forever.

Have you ever been there? Tempted to settle with less than God's best?

So often we get tempted to try to make it happen ourselves, and without realizing it—we are trying to struggle to receive something God would like to FREELY give us.

During a really hard day, I was so discouraged...but I felt the Lord whisper to me: 

"In a split second—I can completely resolve it."

It reminded me of 2 Chronicles 26:29, "...all the people rejoiced because God had provided for the people, for the thing came about suddenly."

It was as if my attitude shifted from "It-will-Never-Happen" to:


If you're struggling with something that is very discouraging, perhaps even emotionally debilitating—I showed up in your inbox today to remind somebody:

And in a split SECOND—He is gonna completely resolve it. Suddenly.

If this resonates with you, I encourage you to let the issue GO—and Trust God right now, fully and completely—to take care of your issue.

It's not yours any longer. It's His issue to solve. Amen?

If you are looking to dive in deeper into how to stop struggling and start receiving, my new book The Pivot Plan is designed to reduce stress and resolve low-level depression. You'll find a step-by-step system that will give you:
  • 4 tried and true methods to stop striving that are simple, easy & fast
  • A reframing technique that ends anxiety (in as little as ten seconds)
  • Simple strategies for preventing & defeating low moods
  • The #1 way to actually stop overthinking everything and quit worrying (hint: it has nothing to do with suppressing negative thoughts)
I am 100% convinced before you finish reading The Pivot Plan, you will feel lighter, freer, and enjoy an unexplainable peace of mind.

You can learn more + find some cool new Bonuses (Worth $397!) I'd love to give you.

I know you're going to trust God like never before. Know I appreciate you and am cheering you on every step of the way!

P.S. If you haven't Pre-Ordered yet we have a special BONUS to offer! (Value $397) It's an awesome 2-hour New Year's Strategy Session! (It's me, January 5, 2018, for 2 hours to get you strategic about winning your year).