The Testimony Podcast

Andrew J Chamberlain

People of faith telling the stories that matter from their lives

27. Disappointed with God - with Sara Hall, part 1 of 2
16-12-2021
27. Disappointed with God - with Sara Hall, part 1 of 2
Hello and welcome to episode 27 of the Testimony Podcast. We praise God for those times in life when we can feel hope and joy, when we see God’s blessing in our lives, and when we rightly exercise the discipline of celebration. God is good and loves us. But sometimes the circumstances in our lives mean that it’s hard for us to be joyful, it’s difficult for us to be hopeful, and we find ourselves feeling angry, confused, and disappointed with God. Expressing these feelings to our brothers and sisters in the church can be difficult, many people won’t know how to respond to us, even if they know the circumstances that might have driven us to this point. Those we love might fall back on unconvincing and even unbiblical phrases like “God works all things for our good”, “we should be joyful all the time”, or “count your blessings and the negative feelings will go away”. There are times when talking to others can be an encouragement, especially wise people who have themselves suffered, but often we can feel frustrated and isolated, that no one understands our particular circumstances and needs. It is with all these things in mind that I want to share the next two episodes of the podcast with you. These next two episodes are two halves of a conversation I had with Sara Hall. Sara is a wife, a mum, a blogger and counselor and author of “Tasting Dirt – When you’re disappointed with God”. I have to tell you, this is one of the most important conversations I’ve had with anyone for the podcast, and I think there is real value and wisdom in what Sara has to say for everyone who has wrestled with pain in their lives, with disappointment with the Lord, and the challenge of navigating through to some kind of reconciliation with a God in with whom we are disappointed and angry, and yet still love and want a relationship with. Sara has suffered a number of tragedies in her life, and she has wrestled with all of these things disappointment, despair, anger, and all of the related feelings that we have to confront in our lives. But through it all, she has kept the faith and remains a faithful follower of Jesus. In facing and winning these battles, she is able to give us valuable insights into our own lives.  She speaks from a place of experience, and of having to do the hard work of reconciling the challenges and tragedies of her life with a faithful walk with God, and so she offers us the kind of hard-won wisdom that is authentic and engages with each of us where we feel our own pain.  So, in the first of these two episodes, Sara and I discuss her background, some of the circumstances she’s been through and then we go on to talk about how we can draw comfort and encouragement from God by looking at how he engages with characters from the bible, from prophecy like Elijah, and especially Mary of Bethany, whose encounters with Jesus speak so much truth about how God engages with a troubled soul and a broken heart. I hope you enjoy the first part of this conversation with Sara, here it is.
24. When God is silent but not absent - with Nigel Langford
16-10-2021
24. When God is silent but not absent - with Nigel Langford
Have you ever had one of those periods in your life where you’ve felt that God is completely distant and silent? You might have had times when you’ve felt so close to God you could reach out and touch Him, He’s right there, but now you find He is far away.  If you have also felt very close to Him, the distance and the silence can seem all the more perplexing. It can also make you feel like you are the only person in the world to have felt this way. Well I have good news for you, you’re not the first person to feel this, and indeed it’s a natural part of our walk with God. Neither are you on your own. When you feel that God is distant you are in fact part of a great tradition that stretches back through church history to the great men and women of the faith, and back further to New Testament times, times of adversity and sacrifice and back further still to the old testament, to the prophets and leaders of God’s chosen people. What we learn, as my guest today will testify, is that often God is silent but not absent. That we can’t hear Him or even sense Him does not mean that He is gone. Rather He is present in the wrestling and the conflict So my guest today is Nigel Langford, a former church pastor and currently Director of Domestic Mission in the UK for the Bible Society. Nigel shares with us his own experiences of wrestling with God’s silence, of partnering with God as He works in the world, and on learning the deep and profound meaning of what it is to be adopted by God as His child. I hope you enjoy listening to our conversation, here it is.