Where's God When it Hurts?
When tough times hit, human nature tends to look at the difficulty and, in doing so, ask the following questions: (1) Why is this happening to me? and (2) What can I do either to lessen or eliminate what's happening or feel better about it? If you look closely, nowhere in the above is God even mentioned.
Sometimes, God is brought into the picture, but often it's through the arenas of blame and criticism: We either blame Him for the difficulty or criticize Him for not helping us avoid it. Many of our difficulties, even those which feel like persecution, are the consequences of our own unwise doing. God didn't make us stop exercising, start taking much longer lunches at work, choose to read the newspaper over playing with our children, or purchase a brand new entertainment system on credit. Those were our choices, and now we're reaping the consequences of those choices. (I hate to be harsh, but I believe in being straight with people.)
Even when we haven't done wrong and have sought earnestly to follow Christ, we'll still experience difficulty: (1) a spouse will cheat on us; (2) a parent will suffer a stroke; (3) we'll be laid-off from work due to a company reorganization; or (4) any host of things that could potentially "go wrong."
In the Scriptures, we're commanded to fix our eyes on Jesus (see Heb 12:1–4). When our eyes are on Him, He's invited to empower us to make it through whatever difficulty we're experiencing. In addition (even when we've turned from Him for a season), He promises to be with us always (see Mt 28:20).
Difficulty, pain, and suffering is here to stay. Jesus experienced it (quite often, in fact); so did the apostles. No one is exempt from it. Enabled to persevere through it? Yes. Exempted from it? No.
If I can encourage you with anything it's this: God is so very interested in you, and He wants to be with you and to hear whatever it is you want to say to Him. Whatever the difficulty, He's right there with you (whether you realize it or not), and He wants to help you. Look to Him, and tell Him what's going on and how upsetting it's been. He's your Ever Present Help in times of difficulty and trouble (see Psa 46:1). Run to Him, and invite Him to fill you with His Peace and to help you do whatever it is you need to do.
God bless you in your life and struggles. I know not the difficulties you're facing in this moment, but I know how excruciating life's challenges can be at times.
I wish to end this post with an ancient blessing, which is found in Num 6:24–26 (NIV). It reads as follows:
"The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make his face to shine upon you and to be gracious to you; the Lord turn his face toward you and grant you peace."
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