Romans 8:27 – 28 (NLT)
27And the Father who knows all hearts knows what the Spirit is saying, for the Spirit pleads for us believers in harmony with God’s own will. 28And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.
My wife and I were recently talking over a very personal matter that had been causing us much distress and many anxious moments. We have prayed about it, fasted, quoted scriptures over it, asked for counsel and yet have seen the situation become more stressful as conditions have deteriorated.
One morning recently I received a 911 text from my wife saying that she was feeling very overwhelmed and defeated as she dealt again with the turbulence of this situation. Several minutes later another text arrived and this one probably more than any caused me to stop and take a deep breath. It simply asked this question. “Phil,where is God?”
Phil…Where is God? Not exactly any easy question to answer. No amount of time reading the Bible or even hours of prayer quite prepares you for the moment in your life when you find yourself asking the heart wrenching question of God…where are You? Yet it is in this crisis of faith moment, more than any other, which will determine the outcome of the storm you’re in.
Many times I find that people struggle with being honest when confronted with coming to the end of their emotional and spiritual rope. Christianity has filled its members with a cliché to cover every situation. It then preaches faith in such ways that condemnation is the only recourse for those fighting to hang on to even a microscopic remnant of hope. It is unfortunate that this has become our norm as I believe that we miss one of God’s great truths. That He is never closer than the moment when we cry out…where are you God?
Recently I have heard God called the Grand Weaver. This may be one of the best descriptions of God I have ever heard. Our lives are this complex tapestry with so many fibers and colors interwoven together all coming together to form the Divine plan yet often that plan is as confusing as a strand of DNA to the untrained eye. The great mystery is how God uses the events of our lives to shape us. Not just the good but also the bad.
Paul would write that all things work together for the good of those who love Him. Few scriptures require more faith to walk out than this one. How can a loving God allow us to experience such turmoil and call it part of the plan? If you’re looking for this writer to provide an answer I can’t. I can say with the experience of having lived almost half a century that the majority of my greatest times of growth have usually come from hard places in life not the easy ones.<
I’ve learned more about praying in faith after the death of loved ones than from those who were healed. I’ve learned more about standing strong in my convictions from the attacks of those who disagree with me than those who agree. I’ve learned more about loyalty from those who have betrayed me than those who have been loyal friends. I’ve learned more about prosperity from my times of poverty than in times of abundance. It always seem’s that when I reach the end of me is when I usually find Him.
Paul again would challenge us that in our weakness He is made strong. You will never find weakness without crisis. Crisis is the key ingredient to faith. Hebrews says that we can’t please God without faith and that He rewards those who earnestly seek Him. That is why God will always take us to the place we ask the question…Where are You? Simply for this reason; that those who keep holding on will find Him in such a way, that there can be no doubt who will get the glory for your miracle.
The key is opening our eyes to see past the despair or turmoil of the moment. The Bible tells us to look up. I’m not sure if that is simply a physical position but it does imply that when our eyes are downcast we may miss what is right in front of us. If not the miracle we need then the strength to stay strong and in the fight another day.
About an hour after my wife sent me her cry of distress I received another text and this one said simply “I found Him!” She told me later that she had gone to awaken our youngest for school. She was down, discouraged and feeling very broken when she entered to wake him. He climbed down from his bed and came into the room where she was and began to talk to her. For the next few minutes God used my 11-year old son in ways he may never know. He began to tell his mother in the language of a young boy how thankful he was for her. For all of her sacrifices. For her great love for him. For how she cared for him and how he was committing to try and make her proud of him that day.
11-year-old boys don’t talk like that unless they’ve been sent on a mission from God to answer someone’s cry…where are you God? My wife told me later that as she reflected on the beauty of that moment God spoke these words into our heart. I am just as much here in the bad things you are facing as I am in the strength you just received from your son’s love. It was the answer she was looking for. She had found God and He was right where He always was…right beside her.