Is God punishing me?

Hi, I’m a 25 year old female. I was laid off from my job as a PR Specialist in May 2010 and I have been looking for a new job ever since. My boyfriend and I had a long distance relationship and I took the opportunity to move closer to him and find work near to him. After months of looking and living out of my car, sleeping on my aunt’s couch and staying with my boyfriend, we decided that it would be easier to move in together. We moved into an apartment in November 2010 and I still have not found a new job. The stress of looking is really wearing me down and I’m extremely depressed. It has also caused more than necessary strain on my relationship with my boyfriend. So, why am I writing? I am a Christian and I have been heavily involved in my church for the past several years. I have, in no way lived a perfect life, but I try to be good. I fell in love with my boyfriend, who happens to be a Buddhist (by tradition) and our relationship has not been accepted by my family. To make matters worse, now my boyfriend’s family doesn’t like me because they say that I’m a leech since I don’t have a job and we are living together. Honestly, I feel much less depressed now that we live together and I’m not running around as I did for over 7 months. However, I can’t take this much longer. I want and NEED to work. My unemployment is over in two weeks. I will feel much better when I have a job. My father thinks that God is punishing me, or at least He is shunning me, because of my relationship and living arrangement. Could he be right? Would I only find a good job if I didn’t live with my boyfriend? Will God not bless me because of my sins? If everything happens for a reason, why am I in this situation? What can I do to end my suffering and move on with my life? Thanks for your help!

Dear Daria,

Thank you for your letter. I’m sorry to hear of your difficult circumstances! You can be assured: God never shuns us. Never. He is relentless in his love for us despite how often we shun him, how we turn away from him, choosing our way over his. God created everything, so, naturally, God knows how everything works best. That is why God has given us instructions and guidelines for choosing the best life, the best way: his life, his way. He loves us!

God doesn’t love you more because you try to be good, and he doesn’t love you less when you fail to be good, even when you and I willfully go our own way. In fact, it is because God loves us that he eventually lets us suffer the consequences of our choices.

Is God disciplining you for your sin? It’s possible. He cares about you.

5-12 Trust God from the bottom of your heart;
don’t try to figure out everything on your own.
Listen for God’s voice in everything you do, everywhere you go;
he’s the one who will keep you on track.
Don’t assume that you know it all.
Run to God! Run from evil!
[…]
But don’t, dear friend, resent God’s discipline;
don’t sulk under his loving correction.
It’s the child he loves that God corrects;
a father’s delight is behind all this. (Proverbs 3)

Does this mean you will find a job if you repent? Maybe. Maybe not. I know he will bless you, even if it isn’t in the way you would have done it if you were God. At the same time, sometimes bad things just happen; they aren’t the direct intervention of God. Either way, ultimately, God’s is our portion. He is our blessing. Even when walking with him is difficult (Hebrews 12). And he is able to work all things together for good for those who love him and are called according to his purposes.

On a slightly different note; I wonder: If you were eventually to marry your current boyfriend and have his children, would you raise your children as Christians or Buddhists? Would you try to “let them choose for themselves?” I’ll go ahead and say that never really works. Giving our children no direction is actually sending them in the direction of nothingness: usually secularism; always confusion.

Let me know what you decide to do. I know it’s difficult. You’re not alone.

Yours prayerfully,
Renea

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