Have you ever suffered an event or series of events in life that made you feel spiritually lost, not really knowing what you feel at all? Going through a crisis of faith doesn’t always mean you don’t “believe”. Sometimes it means you just feel disconnected from God and don’t know how to make your way back.
In going through chronic illness, this is what I myself have experienced. It is a void space, where you know God is there, you know your faith in Jesus is solid, yet you feel empty inside.
If this sounds familiar, read on and join me as we explore going through this very real sense of being spiritually lost.
What is a Crisis of Faith?
A crisis of faith could look several different ways:
- Questioning your faith in God
- Questioning your place in the church
- Feeling dissatisfied with organized religion
- Wondering where God is when bad things happen
- Wondering if what you have been taught is true
- Feeling a sense of disconnect from God
A person might go through a crisis of faith if they experience series of events in their life that make them feel disconnected from God. It could be job loss, the death of a loved one, chronic illness, loneliness, etc.
It is not always about not “believing” or LACKING faith, but more often it is a feeling of being distant from God and not knowing how to find your way back to that space where you are connected in your faith.
It is a sense of being lost when you’re not lost at all.
The difference between this feeling of being lost and having the “spiritual blues” is that you feel like there’s nothing to hold on to, like your hands are slipping off God when you try to cling onto Him- as if He was receding into the distance.
My Own Crisis of Faith Due to Chronic Illness
I lost some of my ability to get words to flow from my brain to my mouth (which some would say may have been a good thing in some situations!!) and I would stutter on some words. My memory was no longer what it was (and still isn’t) and I couldn’t even write for a while.
Then a month later I was in the hospital again for a week with stroke-like symptoms. It turned out this time it was my cervical spine and needed surgery, which I had in September of 2019.
Since then, I have not only been dealing with chronic pain in my neck (the surgery relieved the pressure on my spinal cord but I still have the osteoarthritis), but I have had C. difficile infection due to antibiotics and went into remission once, only to then have it reoccur.
It has been one health issue after another, living in constant pain and sickness.
All this is going on while I am attending seminary. Yes…I have been dealing with feeling spiritually lost and going through a crisis of faith all while attending seminary.
Just because you believe in God and have faith in Yeshua doesn’t mean your faith is never challenged. Again, as I said earlier, it doesn’t always equal a challenge of belief, but more a challenge of WHAT you know of God’s relationship to us.
Anyone who says they never question is likely deceiving themselves. We all do! In fact, I would question my Jewishness if I didn’t because questioning is part of our DNA!
Questioning is part of learning and growing, not a sign of rebellion and disbelief. Without questioning you don’t develop your faith further and you just take everything at face value.
Abraham questioned, Moses questioned, and even the disciples of Yeshua questioned. There is a difference between questioning and doubting.
A crisis of faith is not necessarily a LACK of faith.Questioning is part of learning and growing, not a sign of rebellion and disbelief. Without questioning you don't develop your faith further and you just take everything at face value. Questioning is different than doubting. Click To Tweet
What Does it Mean to Be Spiritually Lost?
When you are experiencing a “spiritual crisis”, it may also feel like being lost spiritually.
Depression and spiritual struggles can cause one to feel more disconnected from their faith, God or even life itself. And if you are truly experiencing depression versus experiencing a spiritual struggle, it is important for you to get help and speak to someone.
It is important to remember that the Bible teaches us we will not be able to live our lives without trials but there are ways for overcoming these trials with the help of God.
In these moments, we need to remember that God is with us through it all. It may be difficult during this time but if you trust in the Lord, things will get better and that “fog” will clear again.
We must ask for help when experiencing a spiritual crisis or while going through trials because there are times when our minds just can’t get off the trials in front of us, especially when dealing with chronic pain because it is always present.
It is important to talk with other believers who are going through the same thing or have gone through the same thing, so you don’t feel alone. Feeling alone and isolated in your pain, whether physical or emotional, is not healthy.
This WILL pass with time and God does not want us to live in spiritual suffering because that is not His will for us.
We need to find ways to appreciate life again, even when experiencing chronic illness. When we fail to praise God, even during trials or chronic pain, when we are so focused on what is hurting us, we forget to appreciate the good that has come from it.
When we focus on the goodness of God and the blessings in life, we can take our focus off of the negative.
I know that when I start to feel like life is just falling apart around me from the pain, turning my focus away from myself and looking at all of the good things in life (the people who love me, the silly things my dog does, the hummingbirds outside at my feeders, the fact that I even got out of bed this morning) helps me to see life through the lens of gratitude again.
Because let’s face it, chronic illness or pain, suffering grief, feeling loneliness, can easily make us blind to those good things going on all around us that we should be grateful for.
For instance, while I am still praying for healing and trust that in His time God will heal me, I recognize that I have been given a new purpose in life which was not there before my illness; to help others who are going through trials or chronic pain.
There’s never an easy answer. There is never a prescription for a crisis of faith. We have to keep moving forward and focusing on the good that has come from our trials.There's never an easy answer. There is never a prescription for a crisis of faith. We have to keep moving forward and focusing on the good that has come from our trials. Click To Tweet
Fighting a Crisis of Faith With Gratitude and War Room Prayers
I know it sounds ridiculous when you’re in pain and suffering to have someone tell you “well, just be grateful!” but the truth is, that while it is not going to take your pain away, it WILL help you get back to a good place when feeling spiritually lost.
I find that keeping a journal where I focus on the good things that happened that day, and write out verses that speak of God’s character or goodness and loving kindness truly helps!
When I feel like nothing good happened that week (and oh boy do I feel that way some days!) I can go back and look at my journal and be reminded of all those little blessings that chased me down that I may have forgotten.
War Room Prayers
I have written previously about the importance of praying war room prayers and keeping a war room binder!
We can easily overlook how God HAS been there with us answering prayer! When we see it written out in front of us, we cannot allow pain or hurt to deny God’s presence in our lives.We can easily overlook how God HAS been there with us answering prayer! When we see it written out in front of us, we cannot allow pain or hurt to deny God's presence in our lives. Click To Tweet
My friend Sue at Woman of Noble Character has a great War Room Binder that you can customize for your own needs, make it as pretty as you want if you are a creative type, and then add the updated pages she offers on a regular basis.
This binder will be a great step toward getting out of that crisis of faith as you will tangibly be able see all God is doing in your life.
When we have pain, we feel like everything around us is just going wrong. This binder helps us to see how, more often than not, so much is going just the way God intends and that He DOES in fact answer our prayers!
Fighting Feeling Spiritually Lost by Connecting
One of the best ways to deal with feeling spiritually lost is by connecting with other people who may also feel the same way.
The phrase “misery loves company” is not necessarily always true.
Sometimes misery NEEDS company, and talking with people who experience that feeling of being spiritually lost or who are going through a crisis of faith themselves or who can relate to your pain, loss or loneliness can help you all come together in prayer and in working through your feelings.
Contact your pastor/rabbi about any support groups or life groups that you can make use of and find people who can understand you.
If you have a spouse who is understanding and supportive (let’s remember, not everyone does!), talking through your feelings with them can be so healing. We often assume our spouses know how we feel. They may know we are in pain or are sick but they may not realize the extent to which this affects our faith.
Don’t keep this bottled up.
And if your feelings are really causing you emotional harm, please contact a professional (either your doctor or a counselor).The phrase "misery loves company" is not necessarily always true. Sometimes misery NEEDS company! Click To Tweet
For Such a Time as This
I love the Book of Esther and one of the things I always remind myself of from that book of the Bible is how Mordecai told Queen Esther that perhaps God had her in the position she was in for ‘such a time as this’; to rescue her people from annihilation.
Perhaps, in our pain, God has us where we are for such a time as this.
As I mentioned earlier, I realize that God has given me this voice via my blog to share with you my struggles and my pain because if it helps even ONE person, if it tells just ONE person they are not alone and someone knows how they feel, it is worth it.
God did not put me here for my own purposes. As scripture says in Isaiah 45:9:
Who am I, the clay, to say to the Potter ‘why have you made me this way’?
Who am I to question the Lord as to why He does as He does? I am only to say, as Isaiah in chapter 6 verse 8:
There are some other extra-biblical Rabbinical quotes I will share with you that are full of wisdom:
And, if you are like me and feel as though you have to hold everyone and everything else together in spite of pain and illness, in spite of feelings of overwhelm, there is this:
My hope and prayer is that my own story of dealing with a crisis of faith and feeling spiritually lost will help you know you are not alone.Who am I, the clay, to say to the Potter 'why have you made me this way'? Click To Tweet
I will be sharing more of my story and my own struggles with my faith in the coming weeks.
Please feel free to share in the comments if you can relate to the kind of struggle I am speaking of so we all know we are not alone!
And please be sure to get your FREE 7 Day Devotional Series – ‘The 7 Sayings of Yeshua From the Cross’ below!
CJB – Taken from the Complete Jewish Bible by David H. Stern. Copyright © 1998. All rights reserved. Used by permission of Messianic Jewish Publishers, 6120 Day Long Lane, Clarksville, MD 21029. www.messianicjewish.net.