7Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence?
8 If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there. (Psalms 139 : 7-8)
Imagine this little child who is just learning to walk. He takes a few steps, and then fall. He gets up again and continued walking. After a few times trying and falling, the baby starts to cry. Unbeknownst to the child, his father was beside him, watching him all the time. And whenever his child starts to cry, the father will always come to the child’s aid. The child’s tears and assumed ‘failures’ will never prevent the father from persevering in seeing his little boy walk without aid one day. The child can continue to walk and fall, but the father makes sure that his boy does not give up in the process.
We often think that our Father is not watching us. When the going gets tough, those were the times when we feel all alone. When we go through trials and pain, when we struggle to find answers to life’s questions, or when we find ourselves battling with temptations – those were the times when we feel most alone. Often times when our friends reject us, we feel as if God has rejected us as well. Downcast and dejected, we feel as if there is no meaning left to life. Has God forgotten us when we go through the most difficult times of our lives? Have we done anything to deserve this? How can this ugly piece of a puzzle be part of God’s special plan?
Where is God, really, when it hurts?
Remember Joseph – he seemed to have everything that he needs as his father’s favourite son. He has God-given dreams which gave him too much enthusiasm. There is no hint that he lacks anything at all. Now imagine having everything robbed away from him – his identity, dignity, and possessions. He was sold off by his brothers, falsely accused, wrongly imprisoned, and then forgotten by someone whom he has helped. Joseph had given his best in everything that he does, but it does not seem to help at all. I am sure that while in the dark dungeon of Pharaoh’s palace, he must have wondered if God has forgotten him. Has God taken back the promises given to Joseph through the dreams? Of course we know the end of the story, but it was not something that Joseph could see when he was in prison.
Or think about the Israelites, suffering in slavery under the brutal hands of the Egyptians. They must have wondered if God has called them His chosen people, then where is He? Or remember David? He was anointed as King as a young man, but what we saw in the most of David’s life was his never ending efforts trying to flee from King Saul. Has God chosen someone else instead? Did God make a mistake?
There are no easy answers to questions like these. We often wonder if God is there when no one else is, or if God knows it when we cry ourselves to sleep. Perhaps you think that you do not matter enough for God to care. But remember the Father heart of God – He always watches from a close distance. God will never prevent us from exploring and learning to walk through life itself, but He is also not absent from our cries. One lecturer/clinical psychologist once said this to me, “God’s hands are always so big that you can never run away from it”. His eyes are always watchful, always attentive. Whenever we feel like giving up, we will always find just enough strength to hold on. But it does not mean that God will take the thorn away from our flesh. The truth is, often God appears in ways that we cannot imagine – like in a still small voice instead of an earthquake.
If you believe that God keeps Hs promises, then one of His most profound promises is that He will never leave you nor forsake you (Deuteronomy 31:6). Rest assured that God is always there with you – be it in your highest peak or lowest valley. He s there when you celebrate; He is also there when you think that you are crying all alone. Nothing happens without the Father’s knowledge. And so whatever happens, know that God’s presence will always go with you and He will give you rest (Exodus 33:14). Just hang in there for a little while more, and you will see help coming your way. Remember, God always has your best interest in His mind, and you will see the formation of a beautiful picture if you do not give up.