The psalmist David penned the words, “My God, my God why hast thou forsaken me?” (Ps 22:1). But they were immortalized when Christ yelled them from the cross in the last hours of his life.
It is a universal question. It has come from the lips of both devout believers and avowed non-believers.
It has existed since the beginning of time. Even Job, in the midst of his suffering, wondered.
Interestingly, the question never comes from our lips when things are going well.
When did it happen for you?
- When you lost your job?
- When your spouse left you for another?
- When your child wandered into “the far country” and never returned?
- When your body was attacked by disease that was unrelenting?
- When your child died?
- When someone you loved lay suffering for weeks and months on end?
- When, as a child, you were abused by those who were supposed to protect you?
It is only in the darkest hours of our lives that the question finds its way into our heart and bubbles to the surface. In those scary times our feeling of aloneness is so severe that it pushes faith to the side and pulls up doubt to replace it.
Doubt. It is one of Satan’s best weapons. It’s the one he used in the Garden with Adam and Eve. “I know what God said, but….” And the seed of doubt was planted.
If Satan can cause us to doubt God’s word or His presence in our lives, our heart will grow cold and angry or indifferent toward God.
Because we have the advantage of reading Job’s biography, we are aware that God was present every step of the way with Job. Job couldn’t see him, but we can see God was there. And while we might not understand why God acted the way He did, it is clear that He was in control of the entire drama.
The same thing happened when God’s children were living as slaves for the Egyptians. As we read their story we find these words, “The Israelites groaned in their slavery. God heard their groaning. God looked on the Israelites and was concerned about them.”
And yet forty more years passed before God sent Moses to lead them out of slavery. God told Moses, “I have indeed seen the misery of my people. I am concerned about their suffering. I have come down to rescue them.”
In all, God’s children were in Egypt for 430 years. 430 years!! How many generations died with the question on their lips, “God, where are you?!” Many died not realizing that He was where He always had been – everywhere.
Maybe your response to all this is, “If God is there, then why doesn’t/didn’t He do something?!”
We have finally arrived at the crux of the matter. This is what it is all about. We want to control what happens in our life. We want to be the Director on the set and bark out the orders to the players.
Because if we were in charge of things, we can see very clearly what we would do to make things right. If we were in charge, life would be painless or at least less painful.
Volumes have been written on the value of pain, what can be learned or gained from painful experiences, or why God allows bad things to happen to good people. All of these books are man’s efforts to make sense of this world.
But I wonder if we are really supposed to make sense of this world. To be able to explain the how and why of everything would require us to have the mind of God.
To survive the vicissitudes of life with our faith intact sometimes requires us to ease back and rest in the place we call trust, even though it may feel illogical to do so.
We must remember that in the darkest of midnights, God is still present.
And he is still in control.
RIDE THE MORNING WINDS
by Grace Hawthorne
A frightening place, this world of ours,
The frantic pace of changing powers
Where no one plays familiar roles.
But in these days one promise holds.
I can ride the morning winds and You are there.
I can sail the widest seas and you are there.
I can find the darkest night and you are there.
I can never be lost from you.