by Marilyn Roberts
A friend of mine went through a rather nasty divorce from his wife. One of the casualties was his truck. Not long before they separated, they had purchased a brand new black Ford Explorer. He loved that truck. Out of spite, she gave law enforcement her keys, and they went to his job to pick it up. The scene was quite an embarrassing one as he and his co-workers watched them drive away. He had been vocal about his Christianity, and a few of them began to mock him, “Where is your God now?” they taunted. For a few weeks he had to walk to and from work so they would call out to him, “Hey man, can’t your God provide transportation?” As they laughed and made fun of him, my friend refused to give into the temptation to defend himself but instead chose to agree with David’s words in Psalm 3, “Lord, how they have increased who trouble me! Many are they who rise up against me. Many are they who say of me, “There is no help for him in God.” But You, O Lord, are a shield for me, My glory and the One who lifts up my head.”
It’s bad enough to struggle with life issues in private, but when your difficulties are on display for the world to see, it begs the question, “Where is God in all of this?” The answer; right where He’s always been, with us!
When Abraham and Sarah were too old to have children, God promised their offspring would outnumber the stars in the sky! (Genesis 15) Isaac was born as the son of that promise, but a few years later God asked Abraham to sacrifice Isaac as a burnt offering. (Genesis 22)
God promised Jacob that He would be with him, keep him, and just like his grandfather, God promised to bless his seed. Jacob fell in love with Rachel and worked for his bride for seven long years only to be deceived by her father. Before he could marry Rachel, he had to promise to work an additional seven years! (Genesis 28 and 29)
God gave Joseph a dream of promotion that infuriated his brothers. They sold him into slavery. His refusal to sin got him thrown into prison. In jail, God used him to favorably interpreted a dream for someone with connections. A word of remembrance could bring about his freedom, but that person forgot him. (Genesis 37, 39, 40)
God gave David and his mighty warriors a great victory over their enemies, but when they returned home, another enemy had burned their homes and taken captive their women and children. (1 Samuel 30)
Jesus told his disciples to go into all the world and preach the gospel with signs and wonders (Mark 16). As they followed his commands, they were persecuted, thrown in jail, and some murdered for their faith.
So, where is God in all of that? Right where He had always been! With them!
Sometimes God’s promises come with immediate victories, sometimes our victories are delayed, and still, other victories don’t look like what we think they should. Life can bring loss of health, loss of jobs, loss of finances, loss of family and friends, loss of our freedom, and life can even bring the death of our precious loved ones. During those difficult times, we can’t just “fake it to make it.” We must possess a commitment to trust God, or we’ll find ourselves yielding to our human frailty. Either way, God remains faithful, and He stays right where He’s always been, with us!
So another question begs to be answered. Where are you? When life is overwhelming, and it appears that if it’s not one thing, it’s another, where are you? When life knocks you off balance, where do you land?
When Job faced an onslaught of one tragedy after another, his response was to fall on his knees and worship. He didn’t understand the why, but he trusted the heart of a Father who loved him. In one day Job’s whole life changed! Job’s wife’s life changed too! Her response was to tell Job to curse God and die! (Job 1) Perhaps your response is somewhere in between worship and cursing God; it’s okay. God knows that we are but flesh. Sometimes our despair is so deep that we have to look up from the bottom. The good news is that when we are at the bottom, God is there too! He doesn’t abandon us. He’s not in the bottom with us to condemn us, but rather to restore us and to make good on what He has promised us. God remains where He’s always been, with us!
Hebrews 13:5b (AMP), “…For He [God] Himself has said, I will not in any way fail you nor give you up nor leave you without support. [I will] not, [I will] not, [I will] not in any degree leave you helpless nor forsake nor let [you] down (relax My hold on you)! [Assuredly not!]
Like Paul Harvey, let me tell you the rest of the story. My friend got his truck back and other things that rightfully belonged to him! God provided a ram in the bush for Abraham and Isaac! When Jacob left his father-in-law, he was rich with children and in livestock! Joseph became a deliverer to the known world! David pursued, overtook, and recovered all! The disciples turned the world upside down through the preaching of the resurrected Christ! Through their word, we believe in Jesus today! Where was God? He was there through the pain, and He was there in the triumph! God was right there through it all!
God said, “For I am the LORD, I change not…” Malachi 3:6a (KJV) The same faithful God who was with the saints of old, promises to be with us too. David wrote, “Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; For You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me” Psalm 23:4 (NKJV). We take comfort because when we walk through those valleys of despair, God is with us to stand by us, to comfort us and to bring us to victory! Where is God? He has not abandoned us. He is where He’s always been, so we can confidently say, “But You, O Lord, are a shield for me, My glory and the One who lifts up my head.”