The wicked person, in the pride of his face,
does not seek God. “There is no God” is in all his thoughts.
I still remember the shock, confusion, and deep sadness I felt in my soul the first time I heard a friend—someone I’d known for years, gone to churches and ministry camps with, and had intimate heart-to-heart fellowship with—use the phrase, “I’m God-free now.” Yet that was truly how they felt; once they no longer devoted their life to God or considered Him, it seemed to them they had discovered true freedom.
That sentiment may have seemed foreign, outlandish, and utterly heartbreaking to my teenaged self, who was watching a dear friend walk away from God even as I was claiming my faith as truly my own for the first time. Sad to say, in the years later, it was a heartbreak I became numb to. As more and more of my peers peeled off for what they considered a “God-free” life, open to pursue whatever and wherever their desires led them, I started to feel jaded about the whole thing. I resigned myself to life as the last one standing, bereft of friends who believed faith was anything but a shackle holding them back from having everything they wanted.
Thankfully, as I’ve grown older God has led some truly amazing people into my path who still seek Him wholeheartedly. Yet in the beauty of these friendships, I find that somehow the heartbreak reawakens. More than ever, I find my heart echoing the cry of the psalmist, anguished at the sheer volume of people both peers and otherwise who make it so abundantly clear their thoughts through word and deed—they truly believe “There is no God.”
If you too have felt this burden, your heart broken as people you love and cherish declare themselves “God-free”…my friends, I wish I had a resolution for your pain and for their turning away. All I can say is that you are not alone, and our God is near to the brokenhearted (Ps. 34). Much as it pains us, it pains Him, too. This is something we can and should lift up in heartfelt prayer, making our anguish on behalf of our loved ones known and heard in the heavenlies. Who knows how our prayers might move their hearts to reconciliation or shift things in the spiritual realm we know nothing about?
We can intercede by prayer. We can be in loving relationship with them, continuing to exemplify the character of Christ even if their hearts aren’t willing to receive the nature of Jesus anymore or at this time. And we can lift up our brothers and sisters we see in similar anguish, knowing that while we are heartbroken together, we can still lean on each other.
And if you are facing this pain, know that I am praying for you today.