When God Isn't There
Picture this: You're at a party. The room is crowded with noisy yet familiar voices calling out. People are laughing, telling jokes, catching up with old friends and meeting new ones. There are at least five people within arms length that you should feel comfortable reaching out to but you can't. You feel alone and trapped. In fact, no matter how familiar a person is, you feel alone in life.
Maybe it's because you're a minister who is struggling through a broken marriage, trying to find healing without compromising a reputation (or more). Perhaps the reason you feel so alone is because you just lost your best friend due to an ugly argument. For some, they may be harboring a secret so deep, so breathtaking that the idea of small talk scares them, for fear that somehow that secret will slip out. And for others, it's a dark, indescribable wall of depression that separates them from their loved ones. Maybe it's your past that resurfaces in your mind every six months, crippling you with guilt.
We all find ourselves alone at some point in life for some reason if not several.
A few weeks ago I was just coming back from my beautiful honeymoon. I was so excited to be in our first home together. With this marriage came a specific transition I knew would be hard for both my daughter & I... her first, solo bedroom. I've been co-sleeping with my baby since the beginning. Not that a mom needs to excuse this but I just didn't see Korey coming into our lives so quickly and quite frankly enjoyed the company of my little snuggle bug, Lark, night after night. In fact, after working long hour days, night time snuggles often felt like my only time I got with her! So this has been a big transition for both her and I.
The first night of putting her in her room was so hard. As exciting as her pretty new room was to her, when it came time to sleep, all the night lights, dollies & stuffed animals in the world couldn't compare to Momma's arms. Korey patiently rocked her back and forth until she slept. But the minute she woke up and realized I wasn't there, the battle of tears VS sleep raged on. As I stood outside her door and fought my own tears, I listened to her cries knowing that she was perfectly safe. I waited, with Korey by my side, until her own cries soothed her to sleep. She would sleep, wake up, cry, sleep, wake up cry... you get the point. And the entire time I just waited outside her door, hidden yet there.
This went on for a while, guys. And I'm thinking it may have been worse on me than her. But it served a purpose. As her guardian and parent and the one that loves her more than anything, I knew that this transition was necessary for her. I knew it would be hard, but necessary. As I stood outside the door listening to the cries for "Momma, hold you" it dawned on me, "How many times has this been me & God"?
How many times in my life have I cried out for God to save me from a season, when I've felt so alone, so trapped, so forgotten and sometimes just plain scared... how many of those times was He right there? I'd say all of them. Every time. So why? Why didn't He just do the easy thing and run in to soothe me and save the day? It's like I pictured Him standing right outside the door listening to make sure I was ok but allowing me to find my own way. Were they hard seasons? Yes. Was I lonely? Yes, for a time. Some of these times longer and more lonely than others. But did I make it? Yes!! A resounding "yes". I believe He knew those seasons were for a purpose and to grow me. And most importantly, he loved me enough to allow that growth to take place.
If I'm being really honest right now, as a Christian there have been a lot of times where I questioned if God was with me. I know I'm not supposed to admit that... but seriously. I didn't feel goosebumps every time I called out. But in those times of not feeling, I decided to have faith (a strong belief in God based on spiritual apprehension rather than proof; a strong confidence or trust in something).
Psalm 46:1 "God is our refuge and strength, a very present and well-proved help in trouble."
That verse doesn't say he is a refuge from trouble but a refuge in trouble. This tells me that we aren't excused from the troubles of life. Yes, we all know this but maybe we should be reminded. When we think others aren't there we might be right. When we think He isn't there, choose faith, quote the above verse over yourself and rest, baby.