On a cloudy Pacific Northwest afternoon, I was driving down the highway while melancholy engulfed my thoughts.
I found myself stranded on a tiny raft while the shark, depression, circled, seeking the perfect opportunity to devour me.
The parallel between the weather and my mood was not lost on me.
In my scramble for hope, I gazed heavenward with the whisper of one word,“Jesus…” and then trailed off, not sure where to go from there.
I have days like these—dark, listless, ash-colored days—where loneliness feels closer than Him. It is nearly impossible to remember He is near when He feels so distant.
Where is God when we are Hurting?
Is He even listening?
As I crested a hill, the horizon opened up before me, displaying a gorgeous view of evergreens set against the endless pale sky. Tears began to well in my eyes as frustration filled my heart and spilled out of my mouth to Him.
“Why can’t you just come here and sit next to me? It’s not fair.”
I furrow my brow like a frustrated child and question further, “Why can’t I get to see you like Moses or other people in the bible?”
Just then, as the words fell from my mouth, a glorious ladder of sunshine appeared through the clouds and shone down on the hills in front of me. My breath caught in my throat, and my mind’s eye saw God’s hand placing Moses in the cleft of the rock.
At that very moment, a window of understanding opened in my heart as tears rolled down my cheeks.
He hides Himself from us because He loves us.
Then Moses said, “Please show me your glory.”
But He said, “You cannot see my face, for no man can see me and live.”
…Then the Lord said, “Behold, there is a place by Me, and you shall stand there on the rock; and it will come about, while My glory is passing by, that I will put you in the cleft of the rock and cover you with My hand until I have passed by. Then I will take My hand away and you shall see My back, but My face shall not be seen.” Exodus 33:18-23
I admit that because my eyes cannot see Him, I doubt.
It is tempting to want a God I can see physically when I am in pain. Because of this, I accuse Him of not caring enough to be here with me. Unfortunately, this world is painful, and I am human, and I forget there is a good reason I can’t physically sit with Him.
In His graciousness, He does not hold this against me; instead, He remembers I am but dust. His spirit nudges my spirit, and I am reminded He is in me and I in Him.
No matter how many times doubt invades my faith, I am confident that He remains faithful when I am weak and faithless. In His own time and in His way He reminds me;
“If we are faithless, he remains faithful, for he cannot deny himself…” 2 Tim. 2:13
He is near
His glory is seen all around; the hope is found in the whisper of a kind word and a comforting smile. Also, it is the grace we find to continue in the everyday—even the gray, listless ones. It shines down upon Jacob’s ladder, resting on evergreens set against an endless pale sky, which causes a girl at the end of her rope to bow in reverence.
The beauty of this world and the majesty of a new day is simply His back as He passes by and lifts His hand.
After all (He is near to the brokenhearted…Psalm 34:18), and yes, my friend, he is listening. He moves and works even when we do not see Him with our physical eyes.
I wouldn’t be able to handle Him in all His glory sitting next to me.
I realize now we wouldn’t want to see Him just yet, not here, not now, not with these eyes.
And so, He lovingly protects me.
There will come a day when my own eyes will behold all of His glory;
“…yet in my flesh, I shall see God; Whom I myself shall behold and whom my eyes will see… Job 19:26-27
Until that day, I will choose the God that is too big to be seen with human eyes and instead is seen with eyes of faith. He is the God that does not fit in my finite mind but instead fits perfectly in my heart.
Where is God when we are Hurting?