Woman looking out over the water on a beach.
Faith

Where is God in This?

My world was caving in around me.  

Our savings account had been depleted due to unforeseeable circumstances. Then my chronic illness flared up to the point where I had to cut back on work. So, we were living on pretty much just one salary. 

And then the unthinkable happened.   

On a trip with my kids while over two hours from our home, my van suddenly began to shake uncontrollably, and then the engine shut off.  

It never started again.  

I tried to act strong for my kids but inside I was just as much of a wreck as the engine in my van.  

I wondered how God could allow this to happen? 

Didn’t He care? 

I mean, He knows all things, right?  

So, then He knew how strapped we were financially. He knew how hard my husband had been working. And He knew there was no way we could afford to pay for this.  

I felt hopeless. Discouraged. Abandoned.  

And I began to wonder, “Where is God in this?” 

When life doesn’t go as planned.

I am sure Joseph often wondered the same thing.  

When he was younger, he had a few dreams that basically revealed that someday both his parents and all his older brothers would bow down to him.    

And then he had the audacity to tell all of them about his dream.  

From this we can see in his youth, Joseph was probably a bit arrogant, prideful, and self-absorbed. 

As the youngest son, Joseph would have been the lowest in rank. And yet, it was obvious to all that he was Jacob’s favorite.   

He lived a very comfortable life. Which meant there was no reason to leave his current situation. And no reason to change his prideful ways.  

But then God allowed some hard things to come into his life.  

Joseph’s brothers became so upset over his favored treatment they decided to sell him into slavery. Once sold into slavery, Joseph was then taken from the only home he had ever known into the foreign country of Egypt. Once in Egypt he landed a good job and was working hard when the wife of his master tried to seduce him.  

He resisted her. Did the right thing. And for that, he was found guilty of a crime he did not even commit and thrown in jail! 

I am sure on more than one occasion Joseph wondered what else could go wrong in his life. He probably wrestled with the same questions I did that day.  

  • Why would God allow this to happen? 
  • Doesn’t He care? 
  • Why is He taking so long to do something?
  • And where is God in this? 
Clouds with words, "We cannot be used in mighty ways unless we are willing to let God do a mighty work in our heart."

Where is God when we suffer? 

While Joseph most likely struggled to understand how all the hard things in his life were a part of God’s plan, we have the privilege of being able to see how it all worked out.  

We can see that God had a plan. We can see how God used Joseph to save his family and an entire nation from starvation during a harsh 7-year famine.  

But for quite a few years, Joseph’s life appeared to have caved in around him. It appeared to be broken. And the thing is, God didn’t fix it.  

He didn’t make all of Joseph’s problems go away.  

But He did redeem them.  

God used those years of suffering to sand off Joseph’s rough edges. To help Joseph let go of his desire for a comfortable life. And to bring him to his knees before the King of Kings.  

God was working behind the scenes the entire time.  

Using every unfortunate circumstance to shape Joseph into the man God created him to be. A man who would follow and honor God even in a foreign, pagan nation.  

A man who would become a great leader and save many lives.  

Now, think about how that could be playing out in your life: 

  • What if instead of fixing your situation, God is choosing to redeem it?  
  • What if the very things you complain about are the very things God could use for His glory? 
  • And what if this hard thing you are going through is stripping away everything holding you back from becoming all God created you to be?

The truth God knows is this: 

You cannot be used in mighty ways unless you are willing to let God do a mighty work in your heart. 

Which might mean going through some hard things.  

Where is God? Porch swing by a lake with words, "While we may not always understand what God is doing, we can trust that He is at work behind the scenes."

How does God help us in times of trouble? 

In our Western culture, we tend to want God to make our life comfortable. Easy. Pain-free.  

But if our lives are comfortable and easy then there is no reason to move out of our current circumstances.  

There is no reason for us to change.   

And if we can’t be changed, then we can’t be used.   

Which is a rather scary thought.   

Personally, I don’t want to arrive in Heaven knowing my life here was laid back and easy. To realize that nothing I did mattered for eternity.  

I want to arrive in Heaven knowing my life on Earth was completely squeezed out and used up. I want my life to be a good to the last drop kind of life poured out as a love offering for my King.   

The question we should be asking ourselves is, “Do we want to be comfortable, or do we want to be used?”  

God helps us in our times of trouble by reminding us that: 

  • He is with us. (Joshua 1:9) 
  • He loves us. (1 John 4:10) 
  • And He has a good plan for us. (Jer. 29:11) 

But He also helps us in our times of trouble by showing us how He is using the hard things in life to sand off our rough edges, push us out of our comfort zone, and mold us into the people He created us to be.   

People who can do a whole lot of good in this broken world.  

When life doesn’t go as planned and we choose faith, we will begin to see how God uses ALL things for our good. (Romans 8:28) 

Even the things that cause us pain. 

Clouds and water with words, "I want to arrive in Heaven knowing my life was completely squeezed out and used up. I want my life to be a good to the last drop kind of life poured out as a love offering for my King."

Where is God in the midst of suffering: Bible Verses 

We often wonder where is God in times of difficulty? 

The truth is He is right by our side. He loves us so much that He has promised to be with us every step of the way. And while we may not always understand what He is doing, we can trust that He is at work behind the scenes.  

The following bible verses show us these truths. And when life is hard, we can cling to these promises from His word.  

(I especially like The Message version at the end.) 

1) God will comfort us.  

“He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others. When they are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us.”

-2 Corinthians 1:4 NLT

“As a mother comforts her child, so I’ll comfort you.”

-Isaiah 66:13 MSG

2) God will be with us no matter what we face.  

“When you go through deep waters, I will be with you. When you go through rivers of difficulty, you will not drown. When you walk through the fire of oppression, you will not be burned up; the flames will not consume you.”

-Isaiah 43:2 NLT

3) God is carrying us.  

“The eternal God is your refuge, and his everlasting arms are under you.”  

-Deuteronomy 33:27A NLT

4) God is a refuge. A shelter in the storm. 

“The Lord is a shelter for the oppressed, a refuge in times of trouble.”

-Psalm 9:9 NLT

5) God is with us every step of the way.  

“Even when I walk through the darkest valley, I will not be afraid, for you are close beside me.”

-Psalm 23:4a NLT

“The Lord hears his people when they call to him for help. He rescues them from all their troubles. The Lord is close to the broken-hearted; he rescues those whose spirits are crushed.”

-Psalm 34:17-18 NLT

And check out The Message version of this verse: 

“Is anyone crying for help? God is listening, ready to rescue you. If your heart is broken, you’ll find God right there; if you’re kicked in the gut, he’ll help you catch your breath.”

-Psalm 34:17-18 MSG
Where is God? Flowers and words "When life doesn't go as planned and we choose faith, we will begin to see how God uses all things for our good. Even the things that cause us pain."

 

Joseph chose to rest in God’s love and trust that even what others meant for evil, God would use for his good. (Genesis 50:20) 

And we can do the same.  

We can rest in God’s love. Choosing to believe He is right by our side even when our world is caving in. Even when our life appears to be broken.  

I know it is hard.  

We spent almost a year and a half in that difficult season. But my faith also grew in leaps and bounds.  

I saw firsthand how God provides. When our church family helped us. When people prayed over us. And when my husband got a timely raise to ease the financial stress. 

I also saw how God used that season to grow and shape both my family and me.  

We learned to keep our eyes on God, not our circumstances. We were reminded of what really matters in life: God and family. And we grew closer to each other through those trying times. 

But most importantly we learned that when we are tempted to ask, “Where is God in this?”  

We can take a deep breath. And remember that God is right by our side.  

Even in this.

No matter what “this” is.

If you found this encouraging, then please share!   

Girl looking out over the water by the beach with the words, "Where is God in this?"
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