Question:

Hello sir,

I've often thought of this but would like some clarity if that is OK. I have been looking at the advice you give other on-line, and you give really good and useful advice!

I guess my question is, why does God make me suffer? Does he hate me or something? I know that's dramatic, but I'm 100% honest.

A little bit about me: I'm in my early 20s and am in college. I am a senior but will be graduating in 2 years.

But recently I feel like my life hasn't been going very smoothly. First, I just got diagnosed with a sleep disorder after having it for nearly ten years. This excess tiredness combined with hard classes has caused my grades to drop. Since then, I have been trying to pull them up and have made changes in my life (taking an extra year, deciding to pursue a minor, volunteer, research) and so far I have seen slight changes but not drastic ones. My sleep physician said that my condition is so severe that it's impossible not to take medication. He prescribed me one that was supposed to be a newer, more calmer form. I ended up suffering an adverse reaction to it and was hospitalized a week for it. During my stay at the hospital, I was diagnosed with a rare skin condition. I was told to get off all medications, even over the counter ones, which means no more sleep meds for me. That was this past summer and now, I am completely off medication and while that is beneficial to my health, it comes with a price (struggling to stay awake, not alert enough to do homework).

I guess my question is: I feel like God is punishing me. I have struggled so much with my sleep disorder, skin condition, as well as my parent's relationship which that I happened to fall in the middle of against my will. Because of all of this plus school stress, it makes daily life so difficult. Every time I feel like I'm making progress, I feel like something wrong happens and my happiness only stays short term. That is how I got hospitalized - that summer was supposed to be relaxing and I ended up in the emergency room. I feel like God is trying to test me but I feel like I'm failing. I really want to go into medicine, but sometimes I start to doubt myself. Don't get me wrong, I do believe in myself to an extent in the sense that deep down no matter what things go wrong, I always push forward but sometimes I wonder why God doesn't fill my life with more happy matters. I feel like after each time I get up after being pushed down and enduring obstacles, something bad gets thrown my way.

I see my friends and acquaintances all around me graduating, going to grad school, some are engaged, etc. I see all of these people posting statuses on Facebook saying how happy they are and sometimes I wonder why I don't feel that way. Please don't mistaken me, I'm not depressed but my life is so full of stress right now that sometimes I lose hope. I lose hope and I start to doubt. I doubt on whether I can get in or not, and I tend to focus on the negatives. I focused on what I did wrong in the past, on the fact that I should have studied harder for a particular class, etc. This negativity causes me so much anxiety and fear that sometimes I feel sick to my stomach. Then I start doubting God. I start to wonder if He's heard the way that I cry at night, my worries, etc. I wonder if He really is here with me and that tiny glimpse of hope starts to diminish and only brightens a little bit when something remotely positive happens.

I guess my real question is, how can I stop this cycle of never ending negativity? Does God really hate me? How do I know for sure that he's with me through everything? I just want my own chance at happiness.

I apologize for this being so long but would appreciate it if you could offer even a tad bit of advice.

Thank you and God Bless,


Answer:

You are asking questions that have been asked for the thousands of year men have been on earth. The book of Job is about this very thing. While readers of Job know that God was allowing Satan to test Job so that Job could grow stronger, Job and his friends did not know what was happening. Nor do we find God explaining His decisions to Job by the end of the book. Job thought that there had been some mistake that God would rectify once Job made Him aware of the problem. Job's friends were convinced that Job must have sinned and that Job was being punished. But in the end both Job and his friends were wrong.

One point being made by Job is that we usually don't know why things happen to us. We are not aware of what is going on behind the scenes. We don't know what is on God's mind or what He plans. All we can do is focus on serving God and doing what is right, knowing that in the long run God will make things work out for the good of His people (Romans 8:28). See:

I don't know why your life is more difficult than other people. But the answer to your life is the same as all other people: "Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God and keep His commandments, For this is man's all. For God will bring every work into judgment, Including every secret thing, Whether good or evil" (Ecclesiastes 12:13-14). You are learning to serve despite what Satan throws at you. It is a hard lesson, but a vital one to learn.

And, no, God does not hate you. "And you have forgotten the exhortation which speaks to you as to sons: "My son, do not despise the chastening of the LORD, nor be discouraged when you are rebuked by Him; for whom the LORD loves He chastens, and scourges every son whom He receives." If you endure chastening, God deals with you as with sons; for what son is there whom a father does not chasten? But if you are without chastening, of which all have become partakers, then you are illegitimate and not sons. Furthermore, we have had human fathers who corrected us, and we paid them respect. Shall we not much more readily be in subjection to the Father of spirits and live? For they indeed for a few days chastened us as seemed best to them, but He for our profit, that we may be partakers of His holiness. Now no chastening seems to be joyful for the present, but painful; nevertheless, afterward it yields the peaceable fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it. Therefore strengthen the hands which hang down, and the feeble knees, and make straight paths for your feet, so that what is lame may not be dislocated, but rather be healed. Pursue peace with all people, and holiness, without which no one will see the Lord" (Hebrews 12:5-14).

Don't fall into the trap of judging your life against other people. What you see on Facebook and other social media sights are only the things people choose to tell others about their lives. Even when the posts are completely honest, the picture portrayed is naturally skewed. So you have been judging your entire life against the more positive things people tend to write about themselves on the Internet. That is not a fair assessment.

Do what you can to the best that you can. It may mean that you have to take a different route to accomplish your goals. You might have to modify some of your targets to match your abilities.