I just got off the phone with a friend whose life has been totally wrecked, some of it his fault, much of it not.  He has been struggling to put his life back together after a terrible divorce, loss of his career job, financial, spiritual and emotional ruin.  After talking with him, I meagerly offered to keep him in my prayers.  Big deal, I'll pray to an invisible God who I am not always sure listens anyway.  But I can't do anything else.  I can't fix his problems, I don't have a magic wand.  All I have is the promise to pray.  So I prayed. I went outside and began to walk and talk to God.  My first question was, "Where are you?"  My friend is a child of God, sure he has his problems, but he doesn't deserve to be in this two years, so far, of constant downward spiral and destruction.  

I know all the almost trite quotations of Scripture, but quotes do little in the midst of real despair and struggle.  My friend wants to die. I know that Christ says he will never leave my friend or forsake him.  I know that God has plans for my friend, plans for a future and a hope.  In fact I preached on God's plans this past Sunday.  But faced with a friend who has endured two years of despair and destruction (actually a life of despair and destruction starting as an abused child and continuing on through addiction and incarceration) my Sunday sermon seems somehow without power.  So I ask, "Where is God?"

The answer is simple yet totally convoluted and almost untenable.  God is here.  During the dark ages, writers called this life a "veil of tears".  Life was so hard, so devastating that the only hope the masses had was the hope of the final resurrection where those who belong to Jesus would live forever in the new heaven and new earth, with immortal bodies void of sorrow and pain.  In the Revelation chapter 21, John gives us a picture of that new life when he says, "I saw a new heaven and a new earth, because the first heaven and earth had disappeared, and the sea was gone. Then I saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, dressed like a bride ready for her husband. I heard a loud voice from the throne say, “God lives with humans! God will make his home with them, and they will be his people. God himself will be with them and be their God. He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There won’t be any more death. There won’t be any grief, crying, or pain, because the first things have disappeared.”

There is our hope.  Our hope in Christ is not just for this life, which is fleeting, but for eternal life.  Not a life lived on clouds, playing harps, but a life lived forever in a resurrected unsoiled body.  A life lived forever with our God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.  A life lived forever with each other.  No more tears, no more sorrow, no more hurt or abuse or struggle.  God will wipe away every tear we've shed in this life.  Where is God?  He is in every struggle, every hurt, holding our hand, lifting us up, working his life into ours. God is active through his Son, Jesus, to work his eternal life into our temporary, crappy, earthly one.  While I hurt, and I hurt for my friends, I have this un-shakable faith that God is at work and the reward of a new life is worth all the hell we endure now.  I don't know why God doesn't just fix all our problems, I sure wish he would.  But I do know, without a doubt, that God is at work even, or probably especially, in our most horrible circumstances to bring about good in our lives now and forever.

We have to be real and recognize the hurts, the struggle, the crappyness that life often throws at us.  At the same time, we have to keep faith that our struggles are temporary and that God will, in the end, overcome all our stuff and give us the life he intended us to have from the beginning.  Where is God?  I don't have all the answers, but I do know he is most definitely here in the middle of all the junk, doing the work only he can do. 

8/20/2023 01:46:45 pm

Great read thankyou


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