How do I get what is in my heart into words? I have been pondering a question that I have heard posed by many for decades, believers and skeptics alike, and somewhere inside of me, the Lord is turning the tables on a huge lie that has derailed many a faith-walk. The question in question: Where was God?
When I was hurting, where was God?
When I was abused, where was God?
When all my friends left me, where was God?
When my heart was breaking, where was God?
Have you ever thought any of these things? You are not alone! Are you one of the many who read the “Footprints” poem and think ‘Yeah, Right?’ Hey, don’t get me wrong, I love that, but I am not sure that everyone who has walked through the worst of circumstances felt ‘carried’ through those times when there was only one set of footprints. Sometimes you just feel alone!
I am not sure that my words here will be any better. But there are a few red letters that come to mind as I ponder those ‘one set of footstep moments.’ There are a couple things that Jesus said that I want you to consider next time you are wondering where God was in your darkest moment.
Imagine Stephen, filled with the Holy Spirit, going around doing amazing things, looking a lot like Jesus. He stands up to preach, and just when he is about to give an altar call, the first rock hits him. One after another, the men he was trying to persuade are hurling fist size stones in his direction. Where is Jesus? (Acts 7)
Imagine James, out there preaching on the street corner with one of his best friends and old fishing buddy Peter. They get arrested, thrown in prison, and Herod has a great idea. Let me make an example of this guy. Where was Jesus? (Acts 12:1-2)
The answer lies in what Jesus said to Paul on the road to Damascus and what He said to the multitudes in Matthew 25. Jesus asked Paul (whose Hebrew name was Saul) “Why do you persecute me?” (Acts 9:4) Jesus takes the abuse we suffer very seriously. In fact as He said in Matthew 25 “whatever you did (or did not do) for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.” (Matt 25:40 & 45) Paul thought he was killing people who hated God, and Jesus reveals Himself and lets Paul know he was actually persecuting the Lord Himself.
I think we read, “surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” (Matt 28:20) and think that He will always come between me and trouble when His point is actually that He is suffering right there with you. He promised us trouble in this life. He tells us in John 16:2 people will think they're doing God a favor when the kill you.
So understand this, when you were betrayed or abused, He was betrayed and abused with you. He may not have been carrying you like the poem said – He may have been left bleeding and dying on the Jericho road with you as He watched the good folks walk by BOTH of you. [Tweet This
My hope is that these red letters will dispel a lie that is keeping you stuck. If it helps, let me know. If it doesn’t, you can tell me that too. I certainly don’t want to make things worse.
Thanks for taking a few minutes to ponder this with me.