Perhaps, in the darkest moments, you have been known to think, or even utter the words, ‘God where are you?’ It is the most understandable and natural human reaction to many of the difficulties we face in life. When we lose a loved one, for example, or when we face apparently insurmountable difficulty or when things go badly wrong for us, especially if we have trusted God for guidance, we may be inclined to wonder: where was God when I needed him?
The husband of a friend of mine died a horrible death, eventually losing his fight against a particularly nasty cancer. As a result, she said, she just does not believe in God. Where was God in this and similar situations, she wanted to know? It is a good question and not one that should be treated, in any way, lightly. Many people in situations such as this have genuinely wanted to know the answer to the question: God where are you?
The answer to the question is that God is right there, in the situation, whatever it is; loving, caring, and enduring it with you. If you are in any kind of pain, whether that is physical pain or mental anguish, then God is right there, experiencing that same pain with you. Sooner or later, we all must face difficult circumstances, that’s true, but God never leaves us to deal with the situation alone, though, of course, we might feel as if we have been abandoned.
In the movie Evan Almighty, God (played by Morgan Freeman) says this:
“Let me ask you something. If someone prays for patience, do you think God gives them patience or does he give them the opportunity to be patient? If they pray for courage, does God give them courage or does he give them opportunities to be courageous? If someone prayed for their family to be closer, you think God zaps them with warm, fuzzy feelings or does he give them opportunities to love each other?”
The difficult situations we face in life are all opportunities in the grand scheme of things. They may not look that way to us and they may even result in our faith, and the faith of others around us, being severely questioned. Even Jesus himself was known to ask the very same question we are considering: ‘my God, why hast thou forsaken me’? Remember that he too cried out to God, in his darkest hour: God, where are you? In his humanity, he experienced the same feelings of separation that we feel.
We are here for a short time and during that time, it is almost inevitable that we will need to face difficulties, but in even the most perplexing, terrible and challenging of these, God, I believe, is with us.