God … Where were You?

I found God on the corner of 1st and Amistad
Where the West was all but won
All alone, smoking his last cigarette
I said, "Where've you been?" He said, "Ask anything."

Where were you, when everything was falling apart?
All my days were spent by the telephone that never rang
And all I needed was a call that never came
To the corner of 1st and Amistad

Lost and insecure, you found me, you found me
Lying on the floor, surrounded, surrounded
Why'd you have to wait? Where were you? Where were you?
Just a little late, you found me, you found me.

These words from The Fray's "You Found Me" seem to be echoing in the hearts of literally millions of people. Does the song express your heart as well? Haven't you had things 'fall apart' on one level or another?

It's the tension we feel when we're caught in between the way things are and the way things should be. It's an emotional strain and drain that causes us to simultaneously remember that God is good - but also ask why our lives are not.

Like the home life that is supposed to be peaceful and renewing, yet is filled with the soundtrack of angry words and painful exchanges. Or perhaps even worse…is deafened by silence and disappointed glances.

Like the relationship that started so amazingly well, yet ended with a callous and cowardly text or message on Facebook and left you feeling as valuable as the garbage you took out the week before.

Like the loss of a friend. Like the disappointment in circumstances. Like the million other things that make us cry out to God and ask -

"Where were You?"

I think I know how you feel. And I definitely know of a man who lived thousands of years ago who lost more and experienced more pain than perhaps anyone else who walked this earth. His name was Job, and just when his life was going as well as any life could go, here's what happened:

Sometime later, while Job's children were having one of their parties at the home of the oldest son, a messenger came to Job and said, "The oxen were plowing and the donkeys grazing in the field next to us when Sabeans attacked. They stole the animals and killed the field hands. I'm the only one to get out alive and tell you what happened."

While he was still talking, another messenger arrived and said, "Bolts of lightning struck the sheep and the shepherds and fried them—burned them to a crisp. I'm the only one to get out alive and tell you what happened."

While he was still talking, another messenger arrived and said, "Chaldeans coming from three directions raided the camels and massacred the camel drivers. I'm the only one to get out alive and tell you what happened."

While he was still talking, another messenger arrived and said, "Your children were having a party at the home of the oldest brother when a tornado swept in off the desert and struck the house. It collapsed on the young people and they died. I'm the only one to get out alive and tell you what happened" (Job 1:13-19).

Can you possibly imagine this scene? In the space of a few dozen heartbeats, Job lost everything that was near and dear to his heart. All possessions and family cruelly ripped from his life in a matter of minutes.

Think Job might have been asking God where He was at this point? Think Job might have been able to pen some lyrics of doubt and expressions of pain?

And yet, here is the song that came from the pieces of his shattered heart:

"I came naked from my mother's womb,
and I will be naked when I leave.
The LORD gave me what I had,
and the LORD has taken it away.
Praise the name of the LORD!"
In all of this, Job did not sin by blaming God (Job 1:21-22).

Was Job some super saint that didn't feel pain or could just blow it off? Not at all. He was human just as much as you or me, but the difference is he didn't have a human perspective. Rather than focusing on the sting of things falling apart, he trusted in the power of the God who holds everything together. He worshipped God with tears and resisted the temptation to blame the evils of this world on the Creator of the universe.

Things do fall apart, and it is OK to find God on a corner and ask where He was. But the key to remember is that there is a difference between asking and blaming.

Asking is trying to find an answer. Blaming is assuming you already know. And what you should know is that God has it all under control. You may feel like He wasn't there in a difficult time but the reality is He was probably closer than you ever imagined. He doesn't need to find you because He never let you go in the first place. That's why we have these promises that are like the mast of a ship that we cling to during the storms of life:

Listen to the LORD who created you.
O Israel, the one who formed you says,
"Do not be afraid, for I have ransomed you.
I have called you by name; you are mine.
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 43:1-2).

I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world (John 16:33).

For he who avenges murder cares for the helpless. He does not ignore the cries of those who suffer (Psalm 9:12).

I will never fail you. I will never abandon you (Hebrews 13:5).

May these truths find you in the midst of your trials.

Flashpoint: Ignite into Action

C.S Lewis wrote: "God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks to us in our conscience, but shouts in our pains: It is His megaphone to rouse a deaf world." This week, ask your friends if their difficult circumstances have ever made them wonder where God is or if He has abandoned them. Pray for the opportunity then to share the good news that those who trust in Jesus for salvation have a personal and permanent relationship with God.

Accelerant: Feed the Fire

Wait for the LORD; be strong and take heart and wait for the LORD (Psalm 27:14). And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose (Romans 8:28).

In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials (1 Peter 1:6).