This is the fifth blog in a six-part series that looks at the question: Where’s God when Life’s so Hard? In seeking answers for myself, I stumbled across some interesting thoughts uncovered in the oldest continuously held tradition on earth – a belief system that’s been uninterrupted or corrupted by outside influences. But while that seems interesting, it still doesn’t answer the question: Why does God seem so ‘detached’ from life’s struggles and bad events?
One possible answer, for why God doesn’t jump in to cut off all the trouble, suffering, sadness and pain right now, is because: the Most High God is perfect. He does nothing in half-measures. Everything He does, from the very first days of creation, is done to 100 per cent all the time and without fail. I mentioned this up-front because there’s two things we need to understand if we’re trying to find the Creator God in our life-storms:
- God IS fully involved.
He’s walking and working 100 per cent with us every step of the way 24/7. He’s never not there. He’s not deep in thought or just too busy. He doesn’t sleep. He doesn’t take a break or go on holiday.[a] The poem Footprints in the Sand by Mary Stevenson [b], is a perfect example of His active involvement in every detail of our lives every step of the way. Father God is trying to help us 100 per cent of the time but most often, we’re running in the opposite direction!
- God WON’T get involved until the day and hour that He has set in human history.
Down through the centuries in His Word, the Creator God has demonstrated that He hasn’t just dumped us here without help. He hasn’t abandoned us to tackle whatever comes our way alone. God the Father (who is in ultimate control 100 per cent of the time), is intimately involved in human affairs. He offers strength and even sanctuary throughout this life journey. This is freely available for anyone who wants to accept His help.
But like any other parent of growing children, by not getting involved (no matter how difficult that is for a good parent), Father God allows His children to experience the consequences of our own decisions. The plan is that we’ll move on from having “the knowledge of good and evil”[c] to choosing right from wrong. In the long run, this makes us grow into better image-bearers: imitators of Him as people made in His image. This is compared to a pampered spoilt child whose wilful self-centred nature never learns — apart from learning that his or her dad is his servant and someone there to answer all his wishes, and fight all his battles like a sort of genie in a bottle. But with our newspapers full everyday with atrocities, it’s not hard to wonder …
What’s God Waiting For?
In addition to being a good parent (who doesn’t jump when we tell Him to jump), Father God is also a 100 per cent Righteous Judge. In any Court of Law when an accusation is brought, a proper amount of evidence needs to be submitted. In this case, a global accusation is going up every day before God. Everyday more bad things are happening and He’s keeping a record. You could say that He’s gathering the evidence. By not jumping in now, His judgements in the end will be seen to be right when the books are opened:
“Great and marvellous are your deeds, Lord God Almighty. Just and true are your ways, King of the nations’…. And I heard the altar respond: ‘Yes, Lord God Almighty, true and just are your judgments.”[d]
When God Almighty gets involved, His 100 per cent righteousness will not allow for a half-measured response. The Supreme God, the Lord and Maker of Heaven and Earth, has to deal decisively and completely with 100 per cent results. Unfortunately for us, we’ve seen His involvement in human history: in the Global Flood and at the Tower of Babel for example. We know what He can do to cities like Sodom and Gomorrah or when He laid waste the advanced civilization of ancient Egypt. [e]
When we’re complaining that God isn’t doing enough, I think it’s worth holding off on the criticism — just for a while. Perhaps long enough to allow His epic play to tick on to the time scale He’s planned for it in advance. At some point, He’ll get involved on a Global scale. When He does, He’ll put a complete end to all things evil and those who cause it:
“Thus I will punish the world for its evil and the wicked for their iniquity; I will also put an end to the arrogance of the proud and abase the haughtiness of the ruthless.”[f]
Meanwhile, if you’re asking ‘Where’s God when life’s so hard?’ Well, He’s with His people 24/7 in 100 per cent of every detail, every step of the way. We just need to journey through life choosing to hold onto Him in good times and in bad. [g] This became true more than ever for us at our Michael’s funeral when we were handed a note. If you would like to hear what it contained and why I think it’s relevant to this topic, just click on the next blog: 2.6 The Note Left Behind by Our Son
[a] Psalm 121 (in contrast to 1Kings 18:25-29)
[c] Genesis 2:16-17; Genesis 3:1-6 & 22
[d] Revelation 15:3 and 16:7 [NIV] See also: Daniel 7:10 and Revelation 20:12
[e] Genesis 6; Genesis 11:1-9; Genesis 18:16 to 19:29; Exodus 3-14
[f] Isaiah 13:11 [NASB]
[g] Matthew 10:22 & 24:13