Single and Feeling Like God Doesn’t Care?

thinkingOne of the analytics tools WordPress gives us bloggers is labeled “Search Terms”. It shows us the search words that have brought up one of our posts to someone (though it doesn’t specify which post).

Most of the time, for (I think) privacy reasons, Google hides the actual search words the person used and just says “Unknown Search Terms”, but occasionally the actual words show. I’ve seen “losing friends” (which presumably led someone to this post), “being godly and sexy” (I’m guessing this), a surprising number containing the phrase “last minute” (which probably all led to this), and some hilarious non sequiturs that aren’t all appropriate to share.

On Monday, this one popped up: “single and feel like god doesn’t care”

My heart broke.

I will never know who it was, out of 7.5 billion people, that was led to my site by that search phrase. I don’t even have a way of knowing which post they viewed. I can only hit my knees and pray that God got their needs to them.

Because I know what that feeling is like.

Sometimes we must sweep aside the thick knot of church-foyer theology, rationalizations, and pulling ourselves up by our bootstraps, and just shine a light upon what our hearts are really believing. And I know what that feeling is like.

No matter how many married people tell you that marriage won’t fix everything (it won’t) or sweep aside your feelings with a big hearty “You shouldn’t be lonely, you have JESUS!!!”*, loneliness is real. There are those who’d give anything to have someone to share a dinner with, someone to entrust with a few uncomfortable secrets, someone to help with the calendar or budget or even just touch them on the shoulder. It’s amazing how many people go without these small comforts. Only the lonely really understand. And that only makes them lonelier.

It’s another level of suck entirely to bear the clenching idea that God doesn’t care. That he’s too concerned with The Plan** to notice how our hearts react to it.

To feel cut off and dismissed by the greatest hope we have? Awful.

I have wonderful news.

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Jesus and First World Problems

I stumbled across a meme the other day that really struck me wrong.

Maybe it’s just me, but I cringed from the first moment I saw it:

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Funny, to be sure. Poignant. Worth a thought. It seems to be saying that because Christ suffered greatly, our sufferings aren’t worth comparing.

And I don’t like it. I don’t think Scripture likes it.

Perhaps the problem here is simply the nature of the internet, the inevitable misfire of a simple image broadcasted indiscriminately. We really need “HERE’S MY SPECIFIED AUDIENCE” tags on everything. Because for many of its readers, it’s probably the last thing they need.

Let me ask this: how would you feel if you paid a counselor to sit there and tell you that you’re not really hurting and that it could be worse? You’d probably feel…out of his office, quickly. And rightfully so. No counselor worth his salt would dismiss a human struggle.

I think God, being the Wonderful Counselor, is a step above that kind of incompetence.

Now…I get the spirit of the picture. Can we take our earthly complaints too far? Probably. The world is, admittedly, speckled with whiners. Broken nails and busted pipes are perhaps worth a sigh to God, but not a prayer of weeping. Self-pity is real. It’s not the same as reaching out to God. There is perspective. Part of a healthy outlook is keeping in view the provision, safety, and services we enjoy that most of the world can only imagine.

But consider this…

Suggesting that middle-class Americans have nothing to gripe about, is equivalent to suggesting that being a middle-class American is what should be bringing us joy.

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A New, Victorious Definition of Comfort

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When you’re walking, pizza bags in hand, through the hallways of a scuzzy motel echoing with muffled yells and odd wafts of broccoli, it’s plain to see that people don’t have a lot of optimism.

I found myself joining them that day. Weighing on my heart were several battles and dreams that seemed no closer to breakthrough than they were a decade ago. Heaven seemed a distant abstract, with the perpetual winter clouds and muddy roads my reality. (I’m sorry, but this city is ugly in winter like few others. It just is.)

The many blessings I’ve received in the last few months didn’t mute the knowledge that others I love are dying without the gospel. In fact, those blessings seemed like my backhanded enemy. They taunted, You’ve gotten a lot from God. You’re being ungrateful by wanting more. Jesus never said you’ll win every battle in this life. Truth on the face of it, but deadly despair in practice. Where to turn?

I could either let despair have me that day, or I could seek God’s take on the matter.

Spoiler alert: This is one of those many stories where God has the perfect Scripture waiting on your Bible app.

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