I Left. God Stayed.
• 4.5 minute read •
I left. God stayed.
Or so it felt.
One year ago, I was about one month into living overseas for the first time while doing ministry with Athletes in Action. It was also around this time that things started getting a little rough. Spiritually, emotionally, mentally…all of it. It started with the feeling we get sometimes, like God’s not there. This is normal in the Christian walk, I thought. It’ll be fine. Until it lasted longer and harder than I’ve ever experienced.
Ya know, you’d think it’s hard enough when you spend an hour in the grocery store to buy some nutritious PB&J and only make it out with the peanut butter and jelly because you have no idea what anything says. I guess God thought I needed more. #yesimdramatic
I had heard a lot of talks about how hard it gets living overseas. How your past and struggles don’t stay in America. How they can become 10x harder. But I’m not actually sure it’s anything that you can really know until you experience it, and everyone’s experience is their own experience.
Side note: By this time in my life, I had just gone through a huge year or so of spiritual growth, and I was at the point in my faith when I knew that no matter how I feel on a certain day, I HAD to go to Him. I had to talk to Him and I had to read His words. Period. I couldn’t put Him off anymore, but instead it was a must to bring my crap and all my feels to Him. When he says He wants us, he doesn’t want just the “fixed” part of us. God is not someone we have to (or even can) look good for. Trust me, He’s seen it all. End side note.
As I was in this rut of “Godlessness”, my heart and my soul felt the heaviest they had ever felt. I had felt this heaviness before, but the difference was that this time I was actually trying to live for Him instead of trying to find ways to live without Him. This is what had confused me. Many, many fears came up of how my actions might be affecting God’s ears and His love for me. Is He looking at me with disappointment because I had had thoughts contrary to His? Does He want me to feel shame? Is He there when I need him most?
Although I was holding onto things I had learned to be true about God, the grip seemed to get looser and looser as the days went. I started losing track of what was true of Him. I would tell Him about it. I would cry out to Him about it. But still nothing…
What is one supposed to think other than, You playin’ games up there, God? Because it ain’t funny. I’m trying, but it’s killing me.
I went through those few months feeling (but not showing) depressed, isolated, and alone. A lot of factors played into this, which under-lied the obvious factor of living in a foreign land. It was like my past was in active duty of being dug up and thrown in my face, doing its best to shatter my most important relationship. My relationship with Jesus. And it was working.
But as for me, my feet had almost stumbled, my steps had nearly slipped. For I was arrogant when I saw the prosperity of the wicked.” Psalm 73:2-3
I cannot fully express what this time was like, but it brought me straight to this question. Will it be Jesus or the world and temporary pleasures? I so badly wanted the latter. I was so close to giving up. After so much growth, how could I be back here again? Why was I so tempted by the old me?
“But when I thought how to understand this, it seemed to me a wearisome task, until I went into the sanctuary of God; then I discerned their end.” Psalm 73:16-17
Well, by no means have I “arrived” in my walk with Jesus, but I’m glad to say I did make it out alive through that particular desert… and ALL the glory goes to Him. Would I change it? Absolutely not. Because the learned conclusion is that I actually do love Jesus. Imagine that, a missionary who learns that they love Jesus.
I just honestly could not imagine life without the Person who has continued to meet me in my darkest moments when no one else possibly could. And that…that brings unexplainable joy.
I’m not one for cliches, but I don’t think it’s at all cliche to say, truly, He satisfies the deepest longing of souls (Psalm 107:9). This is what He’s done for me and the same can be done for you if it hasn’t been done already.
“But for me, it is good to be near to God; I have made the Lord God my refuge, that I may tell of all your works.” Psalm 73:28
Maybe it hasn’t taken living overseas for this to resonate with you. Maybe it’s taken something else. Maybe you have or are experiencing a time similar to this right now. Maybe you don’t know what to do about it. Here are a few things:
- Do not stop talking. God knows, but He wants to hear it from you. He wants you to trust Him with it.
- Do not stop reading His word. (As you can see, the Psalms have resonated with me.)
- Do not isolate yourself. That’s what the enemy wants.
- Distinguish between what your view of God is and what you find yourself wishing God to be.
- The heart, our emotions and will, are deceitful above all things, but thankfully it doesn’t end there. God understands our hearts. He actually understands these emotions and feelings we have and He searches them out to give us exactly what we need. #praisehands (Jer. 17:9-10)
- Your suffering may make you feel your farthest from God, but in reality it will bring you your closest to Him. Just hold on. (James 1:2-4)
Know you’re not alone. Ever.
In His love,
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Written by: Kim Spiecker
Probably made for an island but living everywhere but. Sharing my faith through basketball and going wherever that takes me.
3 Instant joys
- Being by or on the water
- People’s reactions after being scared
- Uber driving
1 Favorite Book and Passage
- 1 John
- 2 Peter 1:3-15
To connect with Kim on Instagram, click here.