OH GOD, WHERE ARE YOU?
by Donald Mehl
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OH GOD, WHERE ARE YOU?
The following real-life situations are common place in today’s world – situations that have recently affected the lives of hundreds of thousands of people – perhaps millions. It’s possible that one or more of them will describe your struggle, or the struggle of someone you know.
1) After nervously waiting in the exam room for what seemed like an eternity, the doctor finally returned carrying your lab reports and x-ray films. With a somber expression on his face, he said, “You have cancer...it’s inoperable...and you have about three months to live. I am terribly sorry.”
Hearing those words caused an immediate tearful emotion that spontaneously burst forth from the innermost depth of your soul. “Oh my God...please God...where are You?”
2) You became a single mom after your husband of eleven years walked away for another woman. You are now struggling alone to feed and clothe your three young children. The growing stack of unpaid bills, many belonging to him, becomes a featureless blur as you try to sort through them. The relentless phone calls from bill collectors have driven you to the outer edges of sanity.
With your meager income, there is no money available to pay the debts. In desperation, you cry out, “God, I can’t do this alone! Where are You? Don’t You care?”
3) A special delivery letter from your mortgage company arrived suddenly without warning. After tearing the envelope open, you learn that foreclosure proceedings had begun, and your family has thirty days to vacate the property.
You had done the best you could to pay the monthly payments, but due to the worsening economy, many payments had been missed. Lately, due to the down-turn in the housing market, you also had an upside-down mortgage – owing thousands more than the home’s present market value. After you leave, you will have nothing, but will still owe thousands to the lender. Where will you go? What will you do? “Oh God, where are You? Please help us!”
4) During the last hour of your work week, your supervisor called you into his office for a short meeting. Since you were painfully aware of other previous meetings involving many now-unemployed co-workers, your heart began to pound wildly as you entered the room. Your worst fears were soon realized. Due to economic conditions, your job was being outsourced to a foreign country.
Your position had been erased, as well as your dedication to the company. The years of education and experience were suddenly of no value to them – all gone with a keystroke on a computer. At your age, how will you support your family? You will not be able to survive on the limited unemployment checks and your meager savings. “Where are You, God? How could You let this happen at this time of my life?”
5) Late one evening your doorbell rings. As you go to answer it, you glance out the window to see a police car parked in your driveway and two uniformed officers standing by your front door. One of the officers said, “We’re very sorry, ma’am, but we must tell you there’s been a tragic accident on the county road. Your husband and your two sons were killed instantly on their way home from a high school football game. Their car was hit head-on by a drunk driver.
Suddenly your whole world collapsed around you with heart wrenching despair. The three people you loved most...the ones who were the center of your life...and, the only ones who truly cared for you have been brutally taken away. “Oh God, what will I do now? My life has fallen apart. Have You abandoned me, too? Oh God, where have You been? Where are You, God?”
Those heartbreaking scenarios, and others like them, are being played out all too often today in the lives of good, hard-working people. When bad things happen, many will question why God seemed to have abandoned them, or why He would allow such things to happen, or even, why He was not there to bail them out.
The truth is, however, that God did not go anywhere. He was always right there, and He knew of every circumstance. The psalmist, David, explained that wonderful message of assurance as recorded in Psalm 139 - describing God’s ever-present and inescapable presence.
That Psalm explains that God knew us even before we were conceived. He knows of our thoughts and words before we express them. God is with us in everything we do, and is beside us everywhere we go. He knows of our joys, as well as our times of trouble and sorrow. Our human minds simply cannot comprehend such knowledge.
Sadly, it is only during times of desperation and despair...times of disaster...and times when people are at their wits end and do not know where to turn, that some people will think about reaching out to God. Then, the cry frequently heard is, “Oh God, where are You? Help me!”
The questions in each of the opening scenarios are most often asked by people who don't have an on-going, day-to-day personal relationship with Him. God is not uppermost in their minds every day. He is not their close friend and source of comfort. They do not talk with Him...they do not lean on Him...nor do they read His Word daily for guidance. They have never submitted to Him - allowing Him to be the Lord of their life through the good times and the bad.
God desperately desires for us to have that personal relationship with Him – and He with us. He longs for us to trust Him...to depend on Him...and to believe all His promises for us. He is waiting patiently for us to open our heart to Him before life’s storms rage – so we can know He will comfort, provide, protect, and that He will be sufficient...no matter what happens.
If you are the one crying out, “Oh my God…please God...where are You?” after receiving a bad doctor’s report, please know that our God is a healing God - who specializes in both physical and Spiritual healing.
If you are that single mom with the bills piling up, and are desperately reaching out saying, “God, I can’t do this alone! Where are You? Don’t You care?”, then, it is an opportunity for you to come to know the One who is your sufficiency and provider. He will hear your pleas, and will be there for you. Do not lose heart.
Perhaps you are the one who has lost your job, or, the mortgage company is foreclosing on your home. Your cries of “Oh God, where are You? Please help us!” will be heard, for He cares for His own. Please know that God has a plan for your life and, in ways we might not understand at the time, He will intervene according to His Will.
When tragedy takes the life of a close friend or loved one, your despair might cause you to search for answers by asking, “Oh God, what will I do now? My life has fallen apart! Where are You, God?” Then, realize from Psalm 139 that He controls the number of our days according to His plan for each of us. The Holy Spirit will comfort you with His Presence, He will heal the hurts and sadness, and He will restore your life.
Do you have that personal relationship with Him to carry you through both the good days and the bad days? Above all else, is He the Savior, Lord, and Master of your life? Is He your best friend with whom you can share your innermost thoughts day after day? He can be a friend like no other, and He will never leave us.
He is able! He is willing! He wants to restore and renew your life! With the Lord residing within your heart, you will receive His comfort during your times of trouble as the apostle Paul wrote in his letter to the Corinthians.
2 Corinthians 4:8, 9 NKJV
We are hard-pressed on every side, yet not crushed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed—
However, you can only have that assurance after you humbly cry out to Him with a true repentant heart, and receive Him into your life. He is nearby and patiently waiting for you to open your heart in that way. Scripture tells us in James 4:8 that if you draw near to God, He will draw near to you.
Jesus is standing at the door of your life, and is softly calling your name. If you sense a gentle tugging in your heart, it is the Holy Spirit urging you to open the door and let Him in. If God is speaking to you, then, what are you waiting for?
Revelation 3:20 NASB
Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and will dine with him, and he with Me.
Open that closed door...open up your life to Him...cry out for Him...and receive Him today!
Author’s personal note:
As a two-time cancer survivor, I understand those cries of, “Oh God, where are You?” Even with Jesus securely in my heart and life, there were still times of despair, discouragement, fear, uncertainty, and rejection.
But, during those days when the valleys were dark, He was there to put His strong arms around me and carry me over the tough places in my pathway. With my hope and trust in His strength, He led me each step of the way through the deep valleys and into the bright sunshine on the highest mountain peak.
As He has promised, He can do the same for you. May you also come to know my Jesus in your life!
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Don, Thank you for writing such a strong reminder of God's ever-present comfort in time of need for His children.
Don, this is such a timely article--so real for our day today. I love your inspirational reminder of God's all-sufficiency. Excellent devotional!
Thank you, Don. This devotional is so full of spiritual truth and could certainly bring many into the knowledge of exactly where God is - once we have personally received Him and claimed Him as Lord. Surely doors will open for this word to be seen by many, many hurting people. God Bless.
Don, your points are so well taken and always backed with the appropriate Scripture verse. I love the variety of illustrations which sets off the article and how God is the answer to every one of them regardless of their complexity or the serious-ness of the problem. Your writing just keeps getting better all the time. God bless you, my friend.
This devotional hits straight to the heart. So many hurting people out there, Don, as you well depicted. I thought of Job and the trials he went through. He cried, "Oh God, where are you. I looked to the left and to the right and you weren't there." But yet Job knew that God was there, standing somewhere in the shadows. Sometimes we see the shadows, but fail to look beyond--where we will always find Jesus, waiting, waiting for us to call out...What a wonderful encouragement you have given, Don. Thanks!...Blessings...Helen