I said I’d see you next year, and here I am! Wow, isn’t it so strange to think about?! But we are here! And I thank God for putting me in this year, though I have no idea what it will hold. Hopefully less pain, and more health, than last year, but I still want it to be as awesome as last year… because, despite all the hardships, last year was awesome! Enough of that, for now, though! In the next two posts I want to visit some hard questions that anyone in suffering will ask at some time. The first one is, “Where is God?!”
How could God be with us in this? How could He allow it? He loves us, right? Has He just abandoned us to wander around in this misery, giving us up as a lost cause? Or is he intentionally putting us in this hurt, this pain, this struggle? Do I dare even ask these questions? Is it wrong to ask these questions? I can’t help it! My heart has to know. And surely God can stand up to any question I ask of Him!
So I ask again: where is God in this?
My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?
Why are you so far from saving me,
so far from my cries of anguish?
Psalm 22:1 (NIV)
This is what David, the man after God’s own heart, cried out. Even Jesus repeated David’s words when he was on the cross in Matthew 27:46 and Mark 15:34. Surely that shows that such questions are not wrong. I also notice that their words weren’t “Have you left me, God?” but more along the lines of, “Why have you left me?”.
We see the same pattern throughout Scripture. In the book of Job, in the Bible, God never once talks to Job or show his presence to him until the very end, even though Job had lost everything, and was sitting in misery and pain.
Or with Joseph, when he was put through all that up and down, from son, to slave, to favored, to prisoner. Where was God in that? Why would He have let this righteous man suffer so?
Something I wrote in my journal a few months ago, referring to God, along with a long list of Scriptures, was this: “When You seem farthest, that is when You are closest.”
If we look back at the people in the Bible that I just mentioned, the people who, out of the painful depths of their hearts, cried out to the God who seemed to have forsaken them, we will see that those times when they felt completely abandoned, were really the times when God was the closest.
With Jesus on the cross, surely God was watching with pain at the sacrifice of His only Son? God was right there with Him, for this was His plan for all of humanity’s salvation, this was His only, beloved, Son!
With Job, when he was in the middle of all that suffering, God was not turning a blind eye! God had staked His entire reputation on this upright human! God, and all of Heaven, were watching Job’s every move, as we see when God asks satan, “Have you seen my servant, Job?”.
When God seems the farthest from us, He is really the closest He has been. He cares so much for us. He will never forsake us, or abandon us. He is holding us in His hands. Like that poem, ‘Footprints in the Sand’, it looks to us like ours are the only footprints in the difficult times, but they really are God’s. He’s holding us, you see.
God has said, “Never will I leave you;
never will I forsake you.”
Hebrews 13:5 b&c (NIV)
Those who know your name trust in you,
for you, Lord, have never forsaken those who seek you.
Psalm 9:10 (NIV)
Has God abandoned you? Believe me, I know it can feel like it sometimes, but all we have to do it open our eyes to see that He is right here with us. He will never leave us to fight alone. He is with us even in the darkest times.