There are a multitude of different things that can hurt a person, different emotions that bring people down. But one of the most painful feelings that a person can feel is feeling unwanted. Unwanted by people we once considered friends, by family who we think should care, unwanted by people in general and there is one type of feeling unwanted that tops all on the pain factor: feeling unwanted by God. Some people may gasp, shake their heads at that, thinking, “How can anyone ever think they are unwanted by God?” But many others reading this right now may be nodding their heads thinking, “I know how that feels. I know how it feels to feel that God doesn’t want you, that He is constantly pushing you away.” And while I wish that simply by assuring you that of course God wants you near Him it would push away all of your gnawing pains and aches of unwantedness, I know that simply saying these words will not help heal your wounds. So, instead, I want to share a deeply emotional story hoping that this story may shed light on the reality of our situations.
A man in our past had been blessed with an amazing gift. Bestowed with a huge blessing from our Lord, he went out to his people to tell them about it. He went out to them with his beautiful black eyes, his flowing beard and his upright posture. He stood before the people he loved explaining to them the blessing that he had been given, the responsibility that had been bestowed upon him. He had been loved by his people before; they trusted his every word. He was used to being accepted and never being second-guessed. He was used to the kind-hearted actions of his people and even the caring nicknames they would call him by that exemplified his traits. So naturally, with this new blessing he was bringing to them, things would only get better, right? Naturally seeing that God favored him so much that He gave him such an amazing gift, there was no way that the people would react negatively, right?
As his story began to get out, and people began to hear about this man who was given a blessed gift and responsibility from the One above, the people began to change. They began to become cold and mean. They began to ridicule this kind-hearted man. They began to say mean words and even laugh at him in his face. The same people, who would shower him with praise and kind words, began to do the exact opposite and they began to spread these rumors about him to others whom he loved dearly. Never had he experienced such torment at the hands of people before, much less his people; the people he loved and lived alongside. But it was okay, because he knew that his self worth came only from God. He knew that his Lord loved him and wanted him. That his Lord wasn’t pushing him away and had not forgotten him. But you won’t imagine what came next.
In the midst of all this turmoil and this pain that he was enduring at the hands of his people, the blessing that he loved so much, the responsibility that he held in such high esteem, stopped returning. He stopped receiving his blessing. At first it was just a brief absence, but as the absence grew tensions began to rise. His people began to laugh and mock him. ‘Your demons have forsaken you,’ a woman mocked. Pain: Had he been forsaken? Had he endured so much from his people only to be pushed away by his Lord? Had he angered his Lord so much that his Lord no longer wanted him near, no longer wanted to send Him the blessing and bestow upon the responsibility that He had given him earlier? That’s what it seems like, right? His people turned on him, and then the blessings in his life seemed to stop. What else could it mean? God told Him exactly what that meant and sent him cooling words to heal his anxiety and distress. First, notice that God wanted to cool his aches and his pains—because feeling pain is not a sign of unspeakable weakness—it’s a sign of humanity. He sent him a message to grant him understanding of what had happened, and from His message to him, we too can learn many a lesson:
“By the morning brightness And [by] the night when it covers with darkness,” (Qur’an 93:1-2)
First, God swore by the brightness of the morning and the darkness that covers the night. When we are in the depths of darkness of night, no matter which way we look we can’t see any proof that the sun will ever return. We can’t see any sign that signifies that the sun will wash away the darkness and allow us to see clearly again, but we never doubt that it will come. Similarly, when we are in the trials of life, swallowed by the darkness of tribulation, we often times look around trying to see where the sun may come up, trying to see when it is all going to go away—and the truth is, often times we can’t see any proof that the sun will rise again, but just as we believe that the sun will rise after a night sky passes—we should full heartedly believe that the sun will rise on our life and happiness will once again enter it.
“Your Lord has not taken leave of you, [O Muhammad], nor has He detested [you].” (Qur’an 93:3)
If you haven’t realized by now, the beautiful persevering soul that we were speaking about is our beloved Muhammed ﷺ (peace be upon him) and the moments of anxiety and distress came from a delay in the revelation being sent down to him. God tells him in plain words what we all want to hear- God has not left you, he didn’t abandon you and He doesn’t hate you.
If you see that your life is filled with trials and that perhaps God is pushing you away from Him, think again—He hasn’t abandoned you. He doesn’t detest you.
“And the Hereafter is better for you than the first [life].” (Qur’an 93:4)
God reminds our beloved messenger and us that no matter what we go through in this life, it’ll be worth it in the end. The Hereafter will make it all worth it. And yes, while we are in this life it feels like it is never ending and we are sidelined time and time again—slammed to the floor and we feel like we can’t make it any further, but God is promising us that if we just hold on and keep at it, in the End it will all be worth it.
“And your Lord is going to give you, and you will be satisfied.” (Qur’an 93:5)
Just because things are bad now, doesn’t mean it will always be bad. How many times has God made someone become something when he began as nothing? How many times has God solved a seemingly impossible situation in an instant? Your Lord is going to give you, and you will be satisfied, if not in this life then in the next—just hang in there.
“Did He not find you an orphan and give [you] refuge? And He found you lost and guided [you], And He found you poor and made [you] self-sufficient.” (Qur’an 93:6-8)
Here God is mentioning the many trials that the Prophet ﷺ went through and reminding him that he solved these problems easily and simply for him. There is no problem that is too big for God to fix. But there is more to this. Perhaps you can relate to one of his problems, or perhaps your problem is completely different than these that were listed—but the common factor is that it was a problem. Look and see what our Lord says next in reference to these hardships that our beloved messenger had to face:
“So as for the orphan, do not oppress [him]. And as for the petitioner, do not repel [him]. But as for the favor of your Lord, report [it].” (Qur’an 93:9-11)
Our Lord tells our Prophet ﷺ to take the hardships that he had undergone in life and to do what? Learn from them. Our Prophet ﷺ had been an orphan so that if ever an orphan was to come to the prophet, he could relate and treat him with justice. Imagine how many an orphan found comfort within the embrace of our beloved Prophet ﷺ and knew that he would never harm them because he knew what the orphan had been through. Imagine how many a poor person found relief in the kind glance of the Prophet ﷺ knowing that he was treating them with kindness and fairness. None of what the Prophet ﷺ underwent was without cause. Every ounce of pain was for a reason, even if he didn’t know what the wisdom was at the time that it was happening, and this is even more so for us. The pains, the trials and the tribulations that we face in life are not God pushing us away. It is not him forgetting about us or abandoning us. It is not him “not wanting us,” rather each “misstep,” each crumble and collapse we have that sends us falling to the floor, has been constructed to make our life and interactions perfect—preparing us for eternal bliss, if only we react appropriately and learn the intended lesson.