I must say that the question above makes me crusty. I’m not going to lie. I don’t think people are wrong in asking the question, but I’m saddened by the question,and crusty, nonetheless. And at the same time, I am strengthened and encouraged.
People ask, “Where is God in all of this?” This, referring to pain, heartache, sickness, disease, poverty, abuse, war, loss, death, horrible, horrible things…
People ask, “Why do bad things happen to: good people, innocent people, me?” Good, referring to humans that aren’t as bad, as say, bad guys, or innocent, referring to children or helpless victims, or maybe innocent in hopeful reference to themselves.
I get the questions. The wondering. The temptation to compare. The inability to make sense of it all…”Why is his/her life so easy?” “Why did my: wife, husband, child, friend, gramma, grampa, aunt, uncle, cousin, sibling; die? They were: wonderful, kind, so giving, so young…they loved God so much…it’s such a waste…” I am not pretending to make sense of it all, but I can, and boldly will, say this:
God isn’t somewhere else…He’s in the middle of all of it. Now, understand I did not say that God makes it all happen. There’s a reason God left the book of Job in the Bible. For that matter, He left all the words so that we weren’t left to live life here floundering, but so that we would see the truth and live life by it…God’s purpose in giving us His word is to expose the Enemy of our hearts, his schemes, his bent on destroying our view of God and ruining our God-ordained relationship. God is in the middle of it because He is everywhere. It doesn’t mean He likes it. God never leaves us…never. I found God in the middle of our pain. In the middle of what was the darkest time of our lives, God was there, with us, with Noah, and the reason I know He was there is because, after kicking and screaming, I opened my heart to see that we live in a fallen world, but one that God did not forsake. I found Him, right where He said He would be, never wavering, but knowing exactly what to expect given that He had experienced it all on the cross Himself…for me…for Noah…for you…
That’s where my hope sets in. What truly should be defined as my lowest valley, as I look back on it, and as I lived through it, I realize was a mountain top experience. God was there. I sought Him and found Him…and He never left. Of course He hates that even the possibility of pain in our lives is a potential reality. He knows the affairs of His enemy…He knows. But He provides through it, knowing that life on this earth will indeed present the pain. And knowing there is so much more. And what satan intended as a full-on assault on our lives, not our physical bodies but our lives as whole people, fell on soil that, for satan’s plantings, was not fertile. Not for his use or deathly intentions. He received no glory…though he does in other assaults around the globe, on our blocks, in our churches, schools, grocery stores, every day. He receives the glory because people have a skewed view of God because of, dare I say, religion. A false representation of the intimacy God desires to have with man through Christ. Jacked up thinking. God equals Santa Claus. “God, I want this, this and this…now…and if You don’t do it my way, hit the highway.” Exactly what the devil wants us to harbor in our hearts.
I have said it before and will say it again, I don’t need to defend God. He’s a big boy. He obviously can handle Himself. What my intentions are is to introduce people to God the way I see in His word that He desires to be known. He is good. He is gracious. He forgives us…even those we don’t feel deserve it…that’s why He’s God…He sees a bigger picture, one of which He is the Artist, and it is magnificent and beyond description, and we have yet to see it. He thinks differently than we do, and it is more wonderful than we can comprehend, and we have yet to conceive it. He loves you exactly the way you are because He made you, designed you, and smiles every time He thinks of you. He desires to be known and is ecstatic at the prospect of you letting yourself be known to Him. And, He wants to be found ‘in all this’ because running from Him or turning our backs on Him ‘in all this’ is a lonely place, and He understands…there is nothing that was not nailed to the cross that day…nothing.
So, rather than running from Him, it’s in the center of ‘all this’ that you will find Him, and it’s there you will find His peace…shalom…nothing missing, nothing broken.