Question from a Site Viewer
My life is falling apart. I am 52 years old and on my second failed marriage. I have been looking for something all my life. I know it’s God but he is so far off to me. I was a Jehovah’s Witness for 10 years or so. I tried other religions like Buddhism . . . you name it, I tried it. I have been saved now for about 18 months and I have read just about everything I can get my hands on about Jesus, the Holy Spirit and how I can get close to God. But for the life of me I can’t seem to connect. It seems like everything I touch turns to crap. I can’t see the forest for the trees. I know what the Scriptures say. I know you have to have faith and believe and you can’t go by your emotions because they change. But I am so hurt and lost . . . I don’t know what to do. I pray to God to show me what he wants me to do in my life but I have no peace. Sometimes I think I am possessed by evil spirits. I can’t concentrate. I am not focused. My mind keeps jumping from one thing to another. If you have any suggestions please let me know. I just want to have peace and be happy in the Lord.
Thank you for your honesty of what you have been experiencing and your desire to find peace and happiness in Christ. What you have been experiencing sounds really painful to the soul. My heart goes out to you. May these trying times come quickly to an end. And may the Lord Jesus make Himself known to you in a personal and real way. If I may, let me provide the following advice.
You say your life is falling apart. But you have made a good start in choosing to come to a relationship through faith in the Jesus of the Bible. And you are right that faith is not seated in our emotions, but in our will. Stated another way, the call of God to believe is an appeal to the will, not to the emotions. God wants us to choose to believe. And He presents many arguments, signs, and testimonies to help us count the cost and choose to follow Him. Thus, like Job of old, true faith says:
Though He slay me, yet will I trust in Him.
But this is not Job’s concluding thought at the end of an argument. Rather, Job adds “I know that I shall be vindicated” (Job 13:18). Job later says in Job 23:10 that once God has tested him, he (Job) would come forth as gold. There is a point of faith where we count His promises to be true even when we cannot see and do not experience their truth. But we do not stop there. Like Job of old, we long for a warm and abiding relationship with God.
A relationship with the living God should never be a cold matter. The following are matters I have found helpful in my life. I share them with you. They are not flashy. They will probably never make the top ten best seller’s list. They may seem very obvious. But I have found them the foundation of a vibrant and long-lasting relationship with Jesus.
First, confess any known sin to God (Proverbs 28:13; 1 John 1:9). This step should not be a deep soul searching for sin. Simply confess to God sins of which you are aware. The Holy Spirit is faithful to bring to our minds sins we need to confess. We do not need to go searching for them. God does not want us to dwell on our sins, but rather to focus on His faithfulness. And once we have confessed known sin, keep a short account with God. If we sin, confess it immediately. It neither helps us nor satisfies God if we hide from Him after we have sinned, or if we think we need to somehow atone for our sins. He has already provided the atonement. And He greatly desires an immediate, restored relationship.
Second, pray about everything, big things and small. Prayer is simply the feet of faith. Develop the habit of talking to God as if you were talking to a friend. Tell Him how your day is going. Tell Him about your joys and about your sorrows. Ask for His help. Pray for the needs of others. Pray for those who make your life difficult. Learn the truth that God loves to hear the prayers of His people. And, He will answer. Look for the answers. And do not lose heart.
Third, make meditating and memorizing Scripture a priority. I suggest starting in Colossians, and reading a few verses, and note what they tell you about Jesus and His relationship with us. Then, mull the passage over (maybe it is only one verse), and let it live within you (Colossians 3:16). Find a verse and memorize it and seek to apply that verse to your life.
Fourth, take time to do good works. God tells us that we are called for this very purpose, that we may do good works (Ephesians 2:10). Seek to be a blessing to others. We do not need to help everyone. God has not called us to save the world. But we should be helping others on a regular basis.
Finally, learn to listen for Him. He often speaks and we do not hear, because we do not have ears to hear. Take time to be quiet before Him; to worship Him in the quietness of your hearts, to speak to Him, to listen for His words as He speaks to your mind and heart. We may hear His words in what others say as well. And, always, we find His words in the Bible. Learn to read the Scriptures devotionally. Worship God from the Scriptures. Adore Him as you read His word. Take time to be alone with Him.
And look for Him. There are matters that are what I term “God signs” in life; matters where He intervenes and lets us know that He is for us and with us. When I was younger, they seemed few and far in between. I think they had to be more obvious before I would see them. But they have always been there. They can be an encouraging word that you received from someone that you were not expecting, meeting a schedule you did not think was possible, a rainbow in the sky, an answer to prayer, circumstances that worked out when you thought there was no way . . . they could be almost anything. But keep your eyes open for them. Learn to live expectantly, looking for the evidence of God. He rewards those who diligently seek Him (Hebrews 11:6).
There will always be sorrows in life. God does not save us for the purpose of removing all sorrows from life. He saves us for the purpose of having a relationship with Himself. Peter encourages us to endure suffering (1 Peter 4:1-2). Our sufferings will come to an end and result in eternal glory with Him (1 Peter 5:8-10). David tells us in Psalm 34:19 that the afflictions of the righteous are many. Jesus suffered. And we will suffer. But a life of suffering is not a wasted life, as so often a life of leisure can be. Suffering, though not what we would ever wish, becomes an exceedingly great reward for the Christian (2 Corinthians 4:8-18).
Growing in Christ is a process. It is learning to abide in Him (John 15:1-8). I encourage you to continue your pursuit of God. Do not ever be satisfied with the status quo of mediocrity. Hunger and thirst for His righteousness and for His presence. And may He grant you the desires of your heart in finding Him.
a fellow traveler,