Have you ever been in a middle of a trial in your life where you questioned God’s presence? To be very transparent with you, I’ve been there. I have been to the place where God seems thousands of miles away and I’m here all alone dealing with life.
Maybe you have been hurt by someone close to you. Maybe you have suffered violence. Maybe you are fighting a physical ailment. Maybe you have been accused unjustly. Maybe you are going through one of the greatest storms of your life and you feel like God is absent.
Look at all of the suffering happening around the world even as you read this. There are people starving. There are people without fresh water. There are wars. There are natural disasters. There is genocide. Where is God?
I received an email from an individual that caught my attention. In the email they said (and I am quoting):
“Where is god? Sitting in heaven eating grapes when there is rape, murder, wars, starvation, etc., etc.
Kinda reminds one of an absentee father, has a child and then runs off and doesn’t support him.”
As I thought on this email, I prayed and asked God to help me answer it. I can only answer it by going to God’s Word, the Bible. The Bible is the only absolute truth we have to stand on today. Let’s look to what God says in His Word as His Word is our authoritative guide for all of our beliefs and our actions.
God is not far away eating grapes as wickedness abounds in this world. God’s Word says "The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel" --which means, "God with us.”” (Matthew 1:23 NIV) Jesus came as Immanuel, God with us. God left heaven to come to this wicked world to be with us.
This present world that we live in is not God’s Kingdom. This world is the devil’s kingdom. God’s heart is to save us from this world and place His kingdom within us. That is why He came into the world.
Jesus said “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full." (John 10:10 NIV). This world is presently the devil’s kingdom and he is the one that is stealing, killing and destroying. Not God. In the midst of all of the injustice, God is drawing people to Him through the cross of Jesus Christ.
Jesus said “Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the desert, so the Son of Man must be lifted up, that everyone who believes in him may have eternal life. For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God's one and only Son. This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but men loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that his deeds will be exposed. But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what he has done has been done through God." (John 3:14-21 NIV)
At the cross, God Himself experienced the wickedness and the cruelty of this sinful world. God Himself came from heaven to earth and was born of a virgin. He gave of Himself in helping others. He was innocent of any crimes and was totally sinless. Yet, He was tortured beyond imagination. He experienced excruciating pain as He was beaten unjustly, His beard was plucked out, He was spat upon, and He was nailed to a cross. On the cross, He was thirsty and they gave Him vinegar to drink. At the cross, God experienced every thing that Satan and his kingdom could throw at Him. It was at the cross that He died so that we could experience a better life in His Kingdom.
In the model prayer Jesus told us to pray to God that His Kingdom would come. Every time we pray that prayer, we are one second closer to the return of Jesus as King to establish God’s Kingdom to earth as it is in heaven. Until He comes, He has placed a deposit of His kingdom in every Christ follower.
After experiencing death, the ultimate blow that Satan and his kingdom could throw, Jesus was filled with resurrection power and came walking out of a cold and damp tomb after three days. The grave could not hold Him. He went in dead, He came out full of life.
It is this resurrection power that comes into every person that puts their faith and trust in God and what He has accomplished at Calvary on our behalf. He conquered this present world and all of its wickedness. He conquered the devil. He conquered death, hell and the grave. As we become Christ followers, God fills us full of His presence. He fills us full of resurrection power.
Where is God? No, He is not far away eating grapes as sin and wickedness abounds. I will tell you where God is. God is always present with the believer.
Beloved, God is with you. He will never leave you nor forsake you according to His Word. In the midst of all the wickedness in a world that grows increasingly out of step with God’s Word, God Himself is with you. He dwells in you! He is your peace! He is your strength! He is your comfort! He has gone through pain and suffering just like you. He knows what you are going through and He is going to bring you through victoriously!
No matter what comes your way beloved, look to the cross of Jesus Christ. See there a God who cares about you enough to endure all that Satan and this evil world could throw at Him so that you can have abundant and everlasting life.
God is not like an absentee father. God did not run off from His children. No, His children ran off from Him.
In the Bible Jesus tells us about a Father and his sons. Jesus said "There was a man who had two sons. The younger one said to his father, 'Father, give me my share of the estate.' So he divided his property between them. Not long after that, the younger son got together all he had, set off for a distant country and there squandered his wealth in wild living. After he had spent everything, there was a severe famine in that whole country, and he began to be in need. So he went and hired himself out to a citizen of that country, who sent him to his fields to feed pigs. He longed to fill his stomach with the pods that the pigs were eating, but no one gave him anything. When he came to his senses, he said, 'How many of my father's hired men have food to spare, and here I am starving to death! I will set out and go back to my father and say to him: Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son; make me like one of your hired men.' So he got up and went to his father. But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him. The son said to him, 'Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.' But the father said to his servants, 'Quick! Bring the best robe and put it on him. Put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. Bring the fattened calf and kill it. Let's have a feast and celebrate. For this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.' So they began to celebrate." (Luke 15:11-24 NIV)
Please make some observations with me.
- The son left the father. The father did not leave the son.
- The father did not run after the son and clean up the mess caused by his son’s sin.
- The father patiently waited for his son to return home.
- The father’s love for his son never changed.
- When the son came home, he was fully accepted.
Beloved, we can relate to this parable. God did not abandon us. We abandoned him when we went our own way and did our own thing. God patiently waited for us to come home. And when we did come home, we were fully accepted by Him. It didn’t matter where we had been and what we had done, His love had not changed and He accepted us just as we were.
Hallelujah! Rejoice that God is with you! He has never abandoned you! He loves you with a perfect Father’s love. He loves you so much, He sent Jesus to take care of your sin problem so that you can spend eternity with Him in His perfect kingdom!
Know that you are loved,