Today I welcome Andrea Merrill to my space. A fellow writer and neighbor in Travelers Rest, I couldn’t pass up asking her to share her story that I heard first hand over text and conversation. She offers finding hope and purpose in unexpected and difficult situations .Read on and be sure to check her bio.

For God has said, “I will never fail you. I will never abandon you.”  Hebrews 13:5 NLT

“God, where are you?”

I found myself asking this question recently after a routine back surgery. The surgery went well, and for the first couple of days everything was fine. On the third day of my hospital stay—when I should have been going home—my health took a nosedive.

A reaction to the anesthesia set off a firestorm that kept me in the hospital for eight days instead of three. Blindsided by the turn of events and so sick I could barely function, I experienced one of the darkest times of my life. I felt as if God had abandoned me.

After twenty-five-plus years of chronic back pain, I had made the decision about surgery with peace, confidence in the surgeon, and more prayer covering than I could have ever hoped for. It seemed the Lord brought everything together, including the timing.

Things were not supposed to turn out this way.

Fear got the best of me. I panicked, wondering if I would even make it. I tried to pray, to call out to the Lord, but my body screamed louder than my prayers. In the same way Peter took his eyes off Jesus and focused on the storm swirling around him, I focused on my circumstances and felt myself sinking.

My dependence remained on those I knew were interceding for me.

After leaving the hospital, I was still very sick but finally able to think clearly enough to pray. I told God I had let Him down. I let myself down. But in my heart I knew God had been right there with me all the time, holding my hand and walking me through the fire. Tears poured as I asked Him to forgive me for thinking He had deserted me, even for a moment.

That’s when I heard Jesus whisper, Remember, I felt that way once too.

His gentle whisper pierced my heart. I thought about Hebrews 4:15: For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet he did not sin (NIV). Jesus knew exactly how I felt. He understood my pain, my fear, and my questions. And He was with me through it all, just like always.

One day we will stand before Him in a place prepared for us where there are no tears, no sorrow, no pain, and no more death. I’m looking forward to that day, but until then I plan to stand strong and put all my faith and hope in the One who gave His all for me.

What about you? Have you ever felt abandoned by the Lord? Maybe you’ve weathered hard situations and questioned why, but afterward you realized God used the storm to weave hope and purpose into your life story. If so, you have a powerful testimony. Be sure to share your experience with others who need encouragement, and let them know that as God’s child they are never alone.

Andrea Merrell is a writer, blogger, and professional freelance editor living in the beautiful upstate of South Carolina. She is an associate editor with Christian Devotions Ministries and former editor with LPC Books and Iron Stream Media. She is the award-winning author of Murder of a Manuscript, Praying for the Prodigal, and Marriage: Make It or Break It and has been published in numerous anthologies and online venues.

Andrea has a passion to help others see God’s Word as relevant and practical for everyday life. She is a wife, mother, proud grandmother of six, Hallmark mystery movie junkie, and lover of coffee and dark chocolate. To read her weekly devotions or contact her, visit or

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