Most people don’t fully understand the effects of being abandoned unless you’ve been through it. They’re also not obvious effects like you would think. When someone abandons you, especially if it’s a parent, obviously it makes you feel unloved. Unworthy. Unloveable. Not good enough. These simple thoughts eventually turn into deep-rooted insecurities. Well, if I wasn’t good enough for them, why would I be good enough for anyone else? Satan uses these thoughts and embeds them in your mind until they grow and fester like a disease. I’m not good enough, the lies say. I wasn’t good enough for the one who abandoned me, and I’m not good enough for anyone now.
This bleeds into your friendships and relationships. If a parent left you, why would a friend at school stay? Why would a spouse? Why would your other family? It creates a seed of mistrust that you start to apply to everyone in your life, whether they’re trustworthy or not.
Then, it leaves a gaping hole. God is the only one who can fill the void left behind by the one who abandoned you. God will never leave you or forsake you. We can take great comfort in that. You are good enough for God because He loves you with an unconditional love that the one who abandoned you didn’t have. People will fail you but God never will.
I find comfort in God and especially in His Word. Let’s look at Genesis. In chapter sixteen, Abram and Sarai try to force on the promise God made to them when He told them He would bless them with a son. So Sarai convinces Abram to sleep with her slave, Hagar. Abram and Hagar have a son together and they name him Ishmael. Naturally, when he’s born, Sarai becomes jealous, so she starts treating Hagar bad because of it. She treats Hagar so bad that Hagar runs away. In Genesis chapter sixteen, God tells Hagar through an angel to go back and submit to Sarai. “I will greatly multiply your offspring and they will be too many to count.” Here Hagar is a slave and she receives almost the same promise that the chosen Abram does! Wow!
So we go on down to Genesis chapter twenty-one. Eventually, God shows Abram and Sarai (now called Abraham and Sarah) that His plan will prevail. God never wanted Abraham to have a son with Hagar, but they took matters into their own hands anyway. Yet God still blessed them with a son. Sarah had a son and she and Abraham named him Isaac. When Isaac was born, a lot of jealousy formed between Sarah and Hagar, and Isaac and Ishmael, so Sarah told Abraham to send Ishmael and Hagar away. Abraham was upset by this, but God told him to listen to Sarah. Genesis chapter twenty-one verse14:
“Early in the morning, Abraham got up, took bread and a waterskin, put them on Hagar’s shoulders, and sent her and the boy (Ishmael) away. She left and wandered in the Wilderness of Beer-sheba. When the water in the skin was gone, she left the boy under one of the bushes and went and sat at a distance, about a bowshot away, for she said, ‘I can’t bear to watch the boy die!’ While she sat at a distance, she wept loudly.’ God heard the boy crying, and the angel of God called to Hagar from heaven and said to her, ‘What’s wrong, Hagar? Don’t be afraid, for God has heard the boy crying from the place where he is. Get up, help the boy up, and grasp his hand, for I will make him a great nation.’ Then God opened her eyes, and she saw a well. So she went and filled the waterskin and gave the boy a drink. God was with the boy, and he grew; he settled in the wilderness and became an archer. He settled in the Wilderness of Paran, and his mother got a wife for him from the land of Egypt.”
What do these verses (14 – 21) tell us?
1) Abraham sent them away. I can only imagine how abandoned Hagar and Ishmael must have felt. They were left in the desert to die.
2) Hagar and Ishmael both wept in their distress. Ishmael was upset and cried and then he started dying and Hagar couldn’t bear to watch that happen.
3) They both cried out.
4) God heard them both crying. Verse 17 says, “God heard the boy crying.” To me, that is so comforting. God hears us when we cry out to Him. He hears our cries and He feels our pain.
5) God’s angel told Hagar to “get up.” “Get up, help the boy up, and grasp his hand.” So when we’re abandoned, yes, we will be distressed, we will cry. A lot. And yet, at some point, we have to rely on God’s strength to “get up.” We can’t just wallow in our sorrow. We have to “get up” and go get water from the well, so to speak. In this case, the water from the well is the Word of God.
6) God’s angel said, “… for I will make him a great nation.” God saw their pain and He helped them. He promised to make Ishmael a great nation, just like Isaac. God did not abandon them, even though everyone else did. He made them a promise and then He kept it.
When we’re abandoned, we should take our distress and our sorrow straight to God. Cry out to Him, pray to Him. He will hear your cries and He can feel your pain! Read His Word and find out what God is telling you. Let His Word comfort you and mend that hole in your heart that someone else left. In turn, God will bless you so much. In the book of Job, when Job lost everything – his land, his wealth, his sons, his health – in the end, God restored him back tenfold what he had before.
God turned Joseph’s bad situation around. His brothers sold him into slavery and God blessed Joseph and eventually, used Joseph to save all of Egypt. God rose Joseph up, placed him in authority over his brothers. In the end, what did Joseph do with all this political power? He forgave his brothers, fed them and their families, and helped them.
When we’re abandoned, if we trust in God and believe in Him, God will be there for us. He will never abandon us, never leave us or forsake us. He will bless you, restore what has been lost. God will raise you up above those who have hurt you, and He even may place you in authority over them in some way. When that happens, it’s our job to forgive them. After all, God forgave us. Jesus died for my sins and your sins just as much as He died for the sins of those who have wronged us.
Don’t let the hole of abandonment tear you apart any longer! Stay tuned for next week’s article! God bless you!