The psalmist David penned the words, “My God, my God why hast Thou forsaken me?” in Psalm 22:1 (KJV), but they were immortalized when Christ shouted them from the cross in the last hours of His life. It is a universal question that has come from the lips of both devout believers and avowed atheists. It has existed since the beginning of time. Even Job in the midst of his suffering wondered. Interestingly, the question never comes from our lips when things are going well.
- When did you ask the question?
- When you lost your job?
- When your spouse left you for another?
- When your child wandered off and never returned?
- When your body was attacked by an unrelenting disease?
- When your child died?
- When someone you loved laid suffering for months on end?
- When, as a child, you were abused by someone who was supposed to protect you?
It is only in the darkest hours of our lives that the question finds its way into our hearts and bubbles to the surface. In those frightening times, our loneliness is so severe that it pushes faith to the side and pulls up doubt to replace it.
Doubt is one of Satan’s best weapons. It’s the one he used in the Garden with Adam and Eve, where the seed of doubt was planted.
If Satan can cause us to doubt God’s Word or His presence in our lives, our hearts will grow cold and angry or indifferent toward God.
Because we have the advantage of reading Job’s biography, we know God was present every step of the way with Job. Job couldn’t see him, but we can see God was there. And while we might not understand why God acted the way He did, it is clear that He was in control of the entire drama.
The same thing happened when God’s children were living as slaves for the Egyptians. As we read their story in Exodus 2:23, we find these words: “But the Israelites continued to groan under their burden of slavery. They cried out for help, and their cry rose up to God.”
And yet 40 more years passed before God sent Moses to lead them out of slavery. God told Moses, “I have certainly seen the oppression of my people in Egypt… So I have come down to rescue them” (Exodus 3:7-8).
God’s children were in Egypt for 430 years. How many generations died with the question on their lips: “God, where are you?” Many died not realizing He was where He always had been– everywhere.
Maybe your response to all this is, “If God is there, then why doesn’t He do something?!”
This brings us to the crux of the matter. This is what it is all about. We want to control what happens in our lives. We want to be the director on the set and bark out the orders to the actors. If we were in charge of things, we could see very clearly what we would do to make things right. If we were in charge, life would be painless, or at least less painful.
Volumes have been written on the value of pain: what can be learned or gained from painful experiences, or why God allows bad things to happen to good people. All of these books are man’s efforts to make sense of this world.
But are we really supposed to make sense of this world? Explaining the how and why of everything requires the mind of God.
Surviving the vicissitudes of life with our faith intact sometimes requires us to ease back and rest in the place we call trust, even though it may feel illogical to do so.
We must remember that in the darkest of midnights, God is still present, and He is still in control.
By David Johnson