Where is God in my despair?

Are you in a time of deep sorrow? Are you hurting and wondering where God is in your time of pain? Do you feel like He has abandoned you? Maybe you feel like Job:

“I loathe my life;I will give free utterance to my complaint;I will speak in the bitterness of my soul.  – Job 10:1, ESV

Job hadn’t done anything wrong. Satan was allowed to test Job. God offered Job up. Satan was ruthless. He went as far as he was allowed in tormenting Job. God didn’t intervene. He let Satan do what he wanted, up to the limitations that He placed: the first time Satan couldn’t kill Job, so Satan killed his children, and the second time, Satan couldn’t kill Job, so he gave Job such horrendous sores that Job was in tremendous pain, enough pain to want his life to end. We are picking up after the second time. Where was God?

“Today also my complaint is bitter;my hand is heavy on account of my groaning. Oh, that I knew where I might find him,that I might come even to his seat!  – Job 23:2-3, ESV

Job had that same question. His so-called friends were telling him that he deserved his “punishment.” Job pleaded his case to them, explaining that he wasn’t guilty of what they claimed. They didn’t believe him. Job then told them he wished he knew where God was so that he could present his case before Him. Sound familiar?

Then the Lord answered Job out of the whirlwind and said: “Who is this that darkens counsel by words without knowledge?  – Job 38:1-2, ESV

After Job’s friends take another round of accusations against Job, God steps forth. God was there the whole time. He heard the arguments between Job and his “friends.” God wasn’t in hiding. He wasn’t too busy. He wasn’t asleep. He wasn’t hard of hearing. There was a purpose for everything Job was going through. The interchange with Job’s friends allowed their mistaken arguments and beliefs about God, man, and sin to be spoken. Job himself provided a continual defense of himself, but as a friend pointed out to me, Job in the end was being self-righteous. Our righteousness comes from God, not ourselves, and that was something that needed to be brought to the forefront. Of course, the only way any of that would come out into the open was if God waited to answer. That’s exactly what He did.

When God seems silent to us, that doesn’t mean He isn’t listening. It doesn’t mean He isn’t around. He is both. God cannot not be there. Though we may not sense Him, He is there and He does still care. We aren’t alone in experiencing the silence of God. Even Jesus experienced the Father’s silence when He was on the Cross. Therefore, we do have a God who sympathizes with us. He has been there. And because He is good, He doesn’t remain silent without good reason. He doesn’t remain silent longer than necessary. 

God is with you in your sorrow. Believe that He is there and that He loves you. Take hope in the fact that God cares and He will not leave you in that state unnecessarily. God promised to never leave us nor forsake us. He always honors His promises. Take hope in those promises as you work through your sorrow.

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