Psalm 34:18 The LORD is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.
“Where are you God?” Am I the only one asking that question these days? I’m guessing surely I’m not alone in questioning God and wondering why He doesn’t jump into this mess that is America in 2020. If there was ever a time, certainly in my lifetime, that we need to see God it seems to be now…and yet He’s never seemed further away. The atheist mocks such a thought I know. Some Christians would chasten me for being weak of faith. Regardless the truth is my faith is as weak as it has ever been. As a result I confess to asking this question/praying this prayer from a position of utter weakness, not strength. The circumstances of our world point today to a godless creation, one full of hate, despair, injustice and pain. Each day seems to bring a revelation worse than the day before. There are problems large and complex that my brain wants to solve, and people of every race and culture my heart wants to engage. I think like many today I am emotionally and mentally exhausted. So while my faith is weak, deep in my soul I know it is also my hope.
I’m reminded this morning I’ve been here before. As I think back on the times in my 51 years I’ve cried this prayer; it’s easy to recall they were times of great disappointment, hurt, and loss. I cried it out for months hoping for a miracle when my first nephew was to be born, but not expected to live. Early in my marriage, when I was first separated from my wife and my one-year old son, in a moment of pure desperation I again pleaded with God to be near. Somewhere in the middle of a church crisis full of broken dreams and plans I asked God repeatedly to show Himself. There have been other times of course of less significance, but it’s those particular moments in time I remember today. They stand out not because everything turned out the way I hoped it would; it didn’t. They stand out because in each case those valleys of life were followed by times of healing. Where was God then? He was with me. I couldn’t see it in the moment, or always feel it in the crisis, but I know God was there – sustaining, providing, carrying, and waiting. Waiting for me to let Him do what He ultimately wanted to do in my life – draw me close to Him.
Where is God today? As a Christian I believe He lives in the hearts of His people. That means the primary way His message of grace, love, hope, and peace impacts this world is through us. Man at times that seems like a terrible plan. Goodness knows we get it as wrong as anyone and too often seem to do more harm than good. That’s a thought for another day. For now, for this moment, if you took the time to read this and find yourself asking a similar question, be encouraged, God is with the broken-hearted and crushed in spirit. God is with:
- those mourning the loss of loved ones
- the exhausted health-care workers
- families fleeing from where they live trying to find better life somewhere else
- those who have been persecuted because of the color of their skin or where they are from
- public servants who are trying to do the right thing while facing attacks from every angle
- those who’ve lost jobs and businesses
- the homeless living in tents and under bridges
- those suffering from addictions
- the abused, neglected, and those seemingly forgotten
- those walking the streets protesting, and those trying to keep the peace
- you. God is with even you. Like me you may not feel it, but He’s there wanting you to know the peace, hope, grace, mercy, joy, and love that He provides.