Where is God When It Hurts?

Friday, September 02, 2016

Where is God When it hurts?

I came across this quote, by Philip Yancey, the other day:

"The point of the Book of Job is not suffering: where is God when it hurts? The prologue (Chapters 1-2) deal with that issue. The point of the book of Job is faith: where is Job when it hurts?"

I don't know much about Mr. Yancey and I don't know the context of this quote, but it clarifies a concept I have been mulling over lately: perspective. 

I know my writing has been a bit sanctimonious lately, but it's only because I'm working to be more intentional in my own faith practices. I'm also trying to offer an alternative to the "new-age", "mystical" baby-loss offerings available. 

In my own exploration, perspective has required me to acknowledge that God is constant, and it's me who's changing. 

This is exemplified in the above quote regarding Job. Job recognized that God was still the same God, regardless of how many tragedies fell at his doorstep. 

It wasn't about him. 

It was about a God who promises great things will come, even from the grime and decay of this world. It was about "lifting your eyes up to the hills" and understanding where your help comes from.

My story with God isn't about where God was when I was suffering, because God was in the same place He always was.... My story with God is about whether I turn away from the path.

Do I turn away to the path of perpetual grief? Do I mourn forever? 

I once believed this was the future. I was told that you never get over child loss. And you don't. But getting over it and finding joy again are two different things, and those who promote this idea of the forever griever seem to expect perpetual mourning, and I think they are doing just as much damage as those who expect you to finish the process after a month. If we believe the promise of the resurrection, our grief and mourning can not last forever. (Note: I'm not in any way suggesting that you rush your process, or invalidating your grief. I'm merely  suggesting that instead of being a cruel master, God can bring you to a place of peace.)

Do I take the path of incomplete resolution, in a mysticism which says the Bible lies when it says there is one death? 

{Hebrews 9:27 "Just as people are destined to die once, and after that to face judgment...} I wrote about that HERE, and I've found a great article about this HERE.

If I want to stay the path -- win the race -- I must accept there may be uncomfortable parts of the journey. It's all about where I am, not where God is, in my suffering. Because, again, He doesn't move. We choose to stay the path or turn away. 

The example of Job is the example of a man who stayed the course, even when his heart was probably breaking. Even when hope was a distant memory. Even when joy probably seemed like a foreign concept. When he did finally cry out to heaven -- he swiftly repented, appalled at his own mistrust.

Why was he so steadfast? Because God hadn't changed position in his life.

Where will we be when it hurts? Well, this is all up to us. I choose to use Job as my example: trusting God for the good He promises, and faithful in all things -- even the hard parts we don't understand.

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