I feel abandoned by God; can you help?

I feel abandoned by God, and I don’t want to. Throughout my life, but certainly very recently I have prayed very hard and consistent about matters concerning my life and wanting his direction, and for my children and help for them. I have even offered up my suffering to the benefit of my intentions, and fasting. I try to pray and let God lead me in every aspect/decision of my life. I know that God answers every prayer, and it may not go according to my intentions, but always? I have had several prayers, as I would interpret, unanswered. I just can’t take these prayer rejections anymore. I sometimes want to tell God, forget it, I don’t want to believe in you anymore, and you hurt me! But in my heart, I still have faith in Him and I can’t leave Him. Everything I have ever dreamed of and hoped for has been denied. I feel like I do my part as a Catholic and read Catholic education books, reading about saints, prayers, sometimes daily mass… It is hard to continue investing in these things when you feel like He is not there for you. I really do know better than to say that, but at the same time I guess I would like to know his reasoning and have a better understanding of these denials. I pray for understanding, but I don’t seem to get that either. I know I should count my blessings as I am a cancer survivor, I have three healthy children, and a good loving marriage. But it is hard not to focus in on the hurt. I recently purchased, and am in the middle of reading a book by Fr. Pacwa regarding how to hear God, but so far I must be missing something. I’m just looking for some hope…
I know what He did to Job, and I know I should have the faith and hold true to Him. But, couldn’t he throw me a bone once in awhile?

Dear friend,

I used to think that I knew what I really needed. But in my dotage I am beginning to realize that I don’t know what I really need and I never have. All I pray for now, regarding myself, is to know His will for me and the strength to follow it–whatever it is.

You are unhappy because you feel that the Lord won’t give you what you want. But if you wanted whatever He gives you, you would never be disappointed. Nor would you feel that He doesn’t care. You would know how much He cares by being focused on Him.

I spend time before the tabernacle each day, focusing on His Passion and thanking Him for each of the sufferings He endured for me. By the time I get to His Passion I have stopped thinking of myself and am just focusing on Him. At this point, everything falls into place and I am at peace. I encourage you to do the same. You can use the reflection below to help you focus. You are in my prayers.

Fr. Vincent Serpa, O.P.

Reflection on the Passion of Our Lord Jesus Christ +

The agony in the garden was really the agony in His mind. He suffered the passion in His mind before He suffered it in His body—to the point of actually affecting the latter by sweating blood. From here on, the mental and physical suffering played off each other and caused Him greater pain.

At the base of all His suffering was the one thing that human beings dread the most: rejection. He was betrayed by Judas, denied by Peter and abandoned by all the rest of His Apostles; those He had hand-picked as His closest intimates. He was most rejected by those who put Him to death. They not only wanted Him dead, they wanted Him more than dead… They wanted Him to suffer. This significance was not lost on Him. He felt fully the rejection as each physical agony reminded Him.

So we thank Him for joining us on our human journey and actually choosing to experience what we fear the most. We thank Him for enduring the arrest and the cruelty of the guards and the Sanhedrin. We thank Him for enduring the cruelty of Pilate who allowed Him to be executed rather than risk his own political ruin—and for the cruelty of Herod who considered Him not worth his time. We thank Him for all the time He spent satisfying their preoccupation with themselves, just delaying His ultimate death. We thank Him for the anxiety of that night in a cell.

The next morning He was brutally scourged whips, then with whips with nobs at the end, and finally with whips with hooks that gouged out chunks of flesh. There was blood everywhere. The loss of so much blood not only severely weakened Him; it also caused a severe, throbbing headache that remained with Him for the duration.

We thank Him for this and for the mockery He received when they put a dirty purple cloth on His shoulders and open wounds, pushing a crown of thorns down into His head which intensified His headache. They blindfolded Him and struck Him, insisting that He ‘prophesy’ who had hit Him. Yet they were the ones who couldn’t see. They spat on Him and beat Him.

He stood at the praetorium in utter disgrace according to the attitude of the crowd—while in reality, He stood in utter glory: almighty God, being present to every person who has ever suffered rejection, joining them in their moment of pain. It was there that He was sentenced to death by crucifixion. Physically, He was utterly miserable. He revealed to St. Bernard that carrying the cross was His most painful agony. He was so weak, He could hardly walk. Nauseous and thirsty, He found the weight of the cross on His shoulder almost unbearable. It most likely dislocated His shoulder. It is not surprising that He fell down three times on the stone streets that were filthy with animal dung—with the cross on top of Him. And He got up each time.

It was only with the help of Simon of Cyrene that He made it to the top of Calvary. There they drove the nails into the carpal tunnels of His hands, causing pain throughout His upper body. The nail in His feet registered great pain through all the sensitive nerves there.

Here His agony was at its peak. After three hours of hanging there He had come to the point where His lack of strength simply was no match for what is known as Sepsis where the bloodstream is overwhelmed by bacteria, and in this eternal moment He died, giving us His life. Transcending time, this moment of divine love is present to us on the altars and in the tabernacles of the world. Thank you, Lord. We adore you O Christ and we praise you. By your holy cross, you have redeemed the world.

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