Incase you haven’t noticed, life is often incredibly hard. There have been times in my life when I’ve gone through difficult trials and wondered: where is God in all this? I think that’s a pretty common feeling. Where is God in cancer? Where is God when my bank account is empty, but my pile of bills in overflowing? Where is God in a broken relationship? If you’ve ever asked that question you are far from the first. It’s a question asked over and over throughout scripture. Here’s just one example:
“Why have you forgotten me?
Why must I go about mourning,
oppressed by the enemy?”
My bones suffer mortal agony
as my foes taunt me,
saying to me all day long,
“Where is your God?” Psalm 42:9-10
Here’s something I’ve been thinking about. Maybe the question isn’t where is God, but rather, where have we put God? The reality is that God never leaves us. Joshua 1:9 puts it this way: Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” God is always present, loving and guiding us. It is us that tend to push him to the side when things get tough. I think we do this in three big ways:
We wall Him out: We refuse to let God into our problems because we’ve bought into the idea that we can do it ourselves. In fact, as men, we’ve been conditioned to believe that real men never need help. Thusly, instead of enlisting God’s help, we wall Him out when we need Him most.
We compartmentalize Him: We let God into some situations in our lives, but not all. It often becomes “God, enlarged my bank account, but don’t ask me to share it. God, bring health to my loved ones, but don’t ask me to serve you.” I think we all have certain sections of our lives that, for one reason or another, we refuse to let God into.
We Ignore Him: Sometimes we just simply put our fingers in our ears and yell “lalalalala!!!” when God is trying to get our attention. Maybe He is calling attention to our sins, challenging us to do something new, or helping us face a difficult reality. Whatever the case, we far too often choose to ignore his presence, love, and advice.
Here’s what I think is really interesting. While we are doing all of these things to keep God out of our difficulties, do you know what God is doing? He is loving us! While the aforementioned Psalm 42 asks about where God is, it also remind us that God is always present showering us with love: By day the Lord directs his love, at night his song is with me Psalm 42:8. When you are in the midst of difficulties make sure you are not keeping God out, but rather opening yourself to his amazing love for you. Pick up your Bible, turn to God in prayer, and turn on your favorite worship music. Be forever reminded of God’s great, perfect, and ever present love.