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DAY 23

Where is God?

[5 minutes]
Mindsetter Moment: Have you ever found yourself asking “Where is God?” Maybe you were wrestling with this question just last night. Maybe you have been waiting 10 or even 20 years for God to answer and things seem to get worse instead of better. Maybe you are rolling your eyes as you read this because you don’t need an easy Christian answer. You need God to DO SOMETHING.

If any of this is relatable, take a few moments to really tell God how you are feeling. Be honest and don’t hold anything back. Then invite God to be near you during this quiet time.

[15 minutes]
Scripture reading:

Job 8:1-11:20
1 Corinthians 15:1-28
Psalm 38:1-22
Proverbs 21:28-29
Devotional thought
Today we see several different views on Job’s suffering. All of the voices we read are looking at this problem from the perspective of justified suffering, meaning they all assume someone, somewhere, did something to deserve the pain Job has encountered.

Bildad seems to think it was caused by the sins of Job’s children. Job wonders how anyone can be good enough to avoid punishment or pain from an all-seeing, all-knowing, all-powerful God. Then Zophar seems to think that Job must have some unconfessed sin and encourages repentance to end the suffering.

Many books have been written about the problem of pain and suffering in the world. Most ask the question, “Where is God in this?” While many scholars ask this in a philosophical and existential manner, we usually ask this in a personal way when faced with grief. The blame and shame we heap on ourselves and others are often simply outward expressions of our inward quest to understand where God was or is in the midst of our suffering.

What applies to me?
John Chapter 11 in the New Testament tells the story of Lazarus, a friend of Jesus, who died. Jesus knew that Lazarus was ill and waited to show up until long after it seemed all hope was gone. When Jesus finally arrived to visit the family they had a similar question, “‘Lord,’ Martha said to Jesus, ‘if you had been here, my brother would not have died’” John 11:21. In the midst of her grief, Martha is asking, “Where were you in this?” Most of us who have walked through loss and grief can probably relate to this feeling.

Sometimes truly terrible things happen that don’t make any logical sense. All the words in every language fall desperately short of measuring our pain or shining light in the darkness. Often, it is the moments when we need God the most that our prayers seem to only bounce against the ceiling.

Over the next several chapters, Job and his friends will ask where God is, ask who’s to blame, and ask for answers. Finally, in chapter 38, at the end of this story, God will answer. When God answers, it will be with more questions. Some may say this response is meant to bring Job down a peg, or to correct him for asking questions. That could be true, or perhaps it is God’s way of sitting Shivah. What if God is meeting Job where he is, right in the middle of the grief-laden questions? Maybe God knows that Job doesn’t really need answers. Job just needs to know that he hasn’t been left alone.

If you are walking through a season where God is silent and your prayers seem to boomerang off an empty sky, take a few breaths and wait. Know that God will answer. When Job asked where God was in the midst of his suffering, things were quiet for a while, but when God answered, Job discovered He was right there all along.

[10 minutes]
Write it out: List one or two times you wondered if God was even hearing you. Use a phrase to represent a season when it seemed God wasn’t to be found. Then look back on those seasons, in retrospect. Write how God was with you even when you didn’t see or feel it.

Pray it out: If your current season is good, give praise to God in your prayer time. If you’re in a difficult season, ask God to remind you of how He has helped you in the past. Ask Him to let those memories build your faith to carry on through your present storm to the other side.

Live it out: Let the words you speak to those around you be words of faith even as you face the challenges of life.