You had faith in Jesus, but how do you love God when He lets you down? Maybe you hoped a relationship wouldn’t lead to divorce, a loved one wouldn’t die, a home wouldn’t be lost, or a dream wouldn’t be shattered forever. But you lost something you love, and you’re disappointed in God.
When you hope and trust God to answer your prayers, you’re sad and even shattered if He says “no” (or nothing at all). If you feel let down by God, you’re not alone! These three tips on how to love God when He lets you down are inspired by a She Blossoms reader; she’s struggling to cope with the death of her pet. A natural response is to blame God for not answering prayer — and it’s definitely hard to keep loving God when He lets you down.
“I lost faith when I put all my hope in God to heal my pet from cancer,” said my reader on How to Trust God After a Heartbreaking Loss. “Unfortunately I had to say goodbye to my baby. I am struggling to make sense of my life. I have health issues and anger is my only response.”
Losing faith is a natural response after loss, disappointment, or suffering. Questioning God’s goodness is normal; after all, you prayed for healing, help, and hope! Maybe you even prayed for a miracle. You truly loved God before this thing happened to you…and it seems impossible to keep loving God after He let you down so brutally, painfully, carelessly.
How Do You Love God When He Lets You Down?
I’m reading through Leviticus as part of my She Blossoms Through the Bible project. Today is chapter 17, subtitled Forbidden Sacrifices. Two things stand out to me in Leviticus 17: 1) God wants us to become fully alive in Him as the giver of life; and 2) everything we do matters to Him.
1. Remember the reason you’re here
In Leviticus 17 God gave Moses detailed instructions for the Israelites. They were to stop making sacrifices in the field and bring their offering to the tabernacle instead. Even more specifically, the Israelites were not to eat the blood of an animal because blood is life. Blood is atonement, the true meaning of life and power and joy and relationship with God. Remember what Jesus Christ said? “Very truly I tell you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise them up at the last day. For my flesh is real food and my blood is real drink. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me, and I in them. Just as the living Father sent me and I live because of the Father, so the one who feeds on me will live because of me. This is the bread that came down from heaven. Your ancestors ate manna and died, but whoever feeds on this bread will live forever.” – John 6:53-58.
What is the reason you exist? If your life revolves around a person, possession, pet, or place then you will forever be disappointed. Nothing stays healthy, strong and alive forever! Everyone will eventually get sick, or die, or even betray you. No matter how much you pray to God, no matter how much you beg and plead for what you want…He can’t give you everything you want when you want it. That’s not God’s purpose for your life. He does not exist to answer your prayers. God exists — and Jesus Christ lives — so that you can deepen your relationship with Him through the Holy Spirit. If you love God only when He doesn’t let you down, then your relationship can’t be life-giving or deep. Learn how to love God even when you don’t feel His presence. Push through the pain and setbacks, the disappointments and grief.
2. Accept that it’s not all about you
The laws and instructions in Leviticus were for the good of the whole Israelite community. God tried to teach them all — as a whole — how to live and how to love Him. God never said, “If I let you down, you don’t have to make these sacrifices” or “You can stop loving Me if I don’t answer your prayers the way you want.” God understands why it’s so hard to love Him even when He lets you down. God knows your pain, grief, disappointment, and loneliness. Jesus feels the grief of loss, the suffering of death, the dread of torture. The Holy Spirit is eager to strengthen you through this, to walk you home. But first, you have to accept that it’s not all about you.
What do you want God to do for you? Here’s another comment from a She Blossoms reader: “I’ve been wallowing in self-pity and drinking my sorrows away for 11 years now. I pray to a god I have absolutely no faith in anymore. I pray he will help me move on but every night I see her in my dreams and every day the memory of what she did haunts me.” – on When God Doesn’t Restore a Broken Relationship. This astute reader knows he’s wallowing in self-pity and living in misery. He admits that he doesn’t trust or love God. Why should he? God let him down. If you feel the same way, think about what you want God to do for you. Then, take a step forward in that direction. Your faith has to lead you forward; God’s love will give you the strength to keep going.
3. Remember that God loves you even when you let Him down
Leviticus 17 describes where true life comes from. If you try to gain strength, hope, faith, love, peace and freedom from other sources (people, possessions, pets, places) you’ll be let down. God wants us to “stay under the spout where the Holy Spirit pours out” — which means the blood and flesh of Jesus Christ. That is the source of true life. Levicitus 17:14 says, “Since the life of every creature is its blood, I have told the Israelites: You are not to eat the blood of any creature, because the life of every creature is its blood; whoever eats it must be cut off.” Jesus fulfilled that law, which means we don’t have to keep making animal sacrifices — even when we let God down. God loves us even when we let Him down.
Cultivate a meaningful relationship with God — which means love, acceptance, companionship no matter who lets who down. Do you think God is keeping track of all the times you let Him down? Do you think God loves you less because you let Him down a million times a day? Of course not! God loves you to the ends of the earth and back, even when you let Him down. Instead of struggling or searching for tips on how to love God when He lets you down, build your relationship with Him. Learn the heart of Jesus Christ, and you’ll fall in love with Him. Ask the Holy Spirit for guidance, wisdom, power and freedom to move forward in your life…even if you feel let down. Especially when you feel let down!
Your thoughts — big or little, in agreement or otherwise — are welcome below. Even more important: talk to God about how you feel. Ask the Holy Spirit for wisdom, healing, strength. Thank Jesus Christ for the depth and width of His love — a love so deep and wide, He went to the cross for you. Because you matter to Him more than you’ll ever know.
Are you struggling to cope with a breakup, divorce, or death? You may find 4 Ways to Hold on to Your Faith When Love Hurts helpful.