When trouble comes…
Where is God?
This is my last post on this topic, a topic that challenges the faith of the devout, further drives the doubter deeper into doubt, and makes the unbeliever even more skeptical.
We know that trouble will come for all of us, no matter what our spiritual orientation, but some Christians struggle with tragedy and hard times more than others because they just can’t figure out where God fits into the picture.
Naively, some Christians think they are immune from difficulties; others rationalize that the difficult times are part of God’s plan. Some even pin the tragedy on God; they want a cause.
However, I have written that accidents happen and God is not a part of those; I have written that people make choices that are not the best choices and God is not part of those choices. I have acknowledged that we bring our own suffering on ourselves.
But again, where is God in the process of going through trouble?
Is He on the sidelines just watching us suffer?
Here is the answer in Psalms 91:15 [referring to the troubled person] “I will be with him in trouble, I will deliver him and honor him.”
What does God expect of us when we are in the midst of hard times?
He wants us to learn, to grow, to rest in Him.
Quoting from the words of a father who lost his child when he was struck and killed by a car: “My faith grew, but not at first. I believe the despair and darkness of not having faith made me realize that the only way to go on without hatred and anger consuming my life was to embrace God and the idea of heaven. For me, faith doesn’t fix problems, but it helps you to cope and survive, and eventually grow through the inevitable tragedies that everyone will have to face.”*
The mom of this child had a different struggle. Different Christian friends told her that her three-year-old son had died because it was God’s timing. It was part of God’s plan. She did not buy into that thinking; instead she reasoned that God gives us free will and sometimes bad things just happen.
That allowed her to turn to God for help. “[My faith] is a deeper faith that has been tested through tragedy. I know that God does promise to always be there to love me, comfort me, and guide me. My faith gives me something that people without faith don’t have—hope.”*
Can you hear the maturity in their battle-tested words?
I have a dear fellow church member who is mentoring me in prayer. She has seen so much tragedy in her life, has come from some dark places and has learned the power of our Lord and Savior, the power He has in the midst of tragedy.
She told me that when God tests you, it is a good time to test Him. Put His promises to the test and claim from God exactly what your trials have made necessary.
Too often we face the trials of life and we just try to get past the trial. When it has passed, it is time to be thankful. Another approach is to recognize that the trial is a challenge from God. It is time to claim a larger blessing than we have ever experienced before. To try to accept the trial with as much delight as possible, to see it as an opportunity, to receive a greater measure of God’s divine grace.
Take to heart the optimistic words of 1 Corinthians 15:54: “death has been swallowed up in victory.” Take to heart the optimistic words of Romans 8:37: “In all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us.”
When trouble comes, where is God?
He is right there with us, showing us the way past the difficulties. He is right there offering His grace as a way to help us heal. He is right there to teach us the most important lessons of life.
Not always OUT of our troubled times,
And the struggles fierce and grim,
But IN—deeper IN—to our sure rest,
The place of our peace, in Him.
*as quoted in Seeing Gray in a World of Black and White, Adam Hamilton