Friday, April 5, 2019

Psalms 88:14 -- On Feeling Abandoned

"Lord, why castest thou off my soul? why hidest thou thy face from me?"
Psalms 88:14

I think the perfect answer to this question is in 1 Nephi 21:14: "But, behold, Zion hath said: The Lord hath forsaken me, and my Lord hath forgotten me—but he will show that he hath not."

The Lord doesn't cast us off or forget us, but we still often believe that he has.  I think most often it is because we haven't been listening to *him,* so the communication lines are starting to break down, and of course if we thought it were our fault then we'd have to do something about it and stuff, so we like to believe it is God. :)

Some things we can do to open things back up:

--Let go of anger and other negative emotions.  Anger gets in the way of the spirit... it just does.  No matter how "righteous" we think it is, or how justified it feels.
--Humble ourselves.  That whole "I'm still right" feeling is very similar to anger in its ability to get in the way of the spirit.  We have to be able to get over ourselves a little bit in order to feel God reaching out.
--Get on our knees and talk it out, even if it feels like we're not getting through.  Prayer and persistence can go a very long way towards re-establishing communication.
--Read the scriptures.  Often, focusing on something spiritual will help us block out distractions as well as our own conflicts and focus on God.

I think the most important advice is to keep trying.  Sometimes God does seem to cut off communication for a time--not because we are worthless or irredeemable, but maybe because we need a time-out. :)  Sometimes we are asking the wrong questions over and over again or demanding things that will harm us.  Sometimes we are completely ignoring God and we offend the spirit and it can't hang around us for a while.  In those cases, I think the best thing to remember is Isaiah 54:7: "For a small moment have I forsaken thee; but with great mercies will I gather thee."  He still hasn't forgotten or given up on us--just given us some time to realize that the hole in our hearts is God-shaped, and nothing else can fill it.

Today, if we are feeling abandoned by God, let's make sure that we aren't abandoning him.  Let's do everything in our power to get rid of things in our lives that might be blocking the spirit, and then let's do some good things that invite the spirit back in.  If we are seeking him with all of our hearts, the Lord will never be gone for long. :)

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