O Lord, how long will You look on? … Psalms 35:17a
Recently, a friend related to me an incident where a man lost his entire family in a fire accident. She told me how inconsolable the man had been, how he had become hysterical, even to the point he had to be sedated. Her comment was, “Everyone who watched the whole thing kept asking how God could allow such a thing to happen.”
Indeed, she spoke for many of us. When we see bad things happen around us, we wonder how God could just look on and not do anything. When there is a great loss of life that often comes as a result of a natural disaster, we demand to know where God was, and why He didn’t intervene.
The Psalmist also demanded to know the same thing from the Lord. Fearing for his personal safety, it seems as if his words are accusing God of complacency, while the enemy plots his destruction.
Similarly, in our distress, we sometimes accuse God of being complacent — not caring or being aloof — when we encounter unpleasant situations.
While reading this devotion, you may probably be asking the same question.
Perhaps your entire world is coming apart at the seams, and you are demanding to know how God could allow that to happen. You are, after all, His child; you were baptized in the Name of the Triune God, and you partake of the blessed meal, the Eucharist, so why does God allow such bad things to happen to you?
I may not know what has happened or is happening, or why. I may not even know the amount of pain and hurt you are experiencing, but I do know this: during the times when I have faced difficult situations, I have always found comfort in the Book of Psalms.
And I would like to draw your attention to Psalm 42. Here the author laments the bad that has happened to him. He says people are asking him where is his God. Their criticism and comments indicate they believe if God loved him, then all these bad things would not be happening.
In spite of all this, the Psalmist refused to focus on the bad which has happened or even why it has happened. Verse 11 of the same Psalm reads: “Why am I so sad? Why am I so troubled? I will put my hope in God, and once again I will praise Him, my Savior and my God.”
Now, don’t get me wrong. I am not saying you should turn a blind eye on your suffering or pretend it isn’t happening. I am saying acknowledge your pain and then turn to God for help. He does care. The amount of that caring was shown in the life, suffering and death of His Son. Standing at the manger, the cross, and the empty tomb, we know — beyond any doubt — ours is a God who loves us and will always do what is best for us.
Dear Lord, even when I walk through a very dark valley, I will not be afraid; for you, Lord, are where you have always been – even when I didn’t realize it – right beside me, in and through Jesus. Keep holding on to me Lord, keep holding on. Amen.
Grace and Peace