“So, where is your God?” or “Where is this active and communicating God you keep talking about now?” These are taunts many of us have heard when evil is winning or suffering is intense. This seems to have been true for many of the biblical writers as well (see for examples: Psalm 42:3; 79:10; 115:2; Isaiah 36:13-20; Jeremiah 17:15; Micah 7:10; and Malachi 2:17).
But sometimes, this “Where are You, God?” comes from those who love God and are attempting to be trusting and faithful. A Psalmist who is dismayed at what is happening in the “church” and “nation” of his time cries “Lord, where is your steadfast covenant love” (Psalm 89:49)? And, we hear the writer of the latter part of Isaiah saying: “Where is he who brought them up out of the sea with the shepherds of his flock? Where is he who put in the midst of them his Holy Spirit, who caused his glorious arm to go at the right hand of Moses, who divided the waters before them to make for himself an everlasting name? . . . Where are your zeal and your might? (Isaiah 63:11-12, 15).
I am sure that one of the reasons these examples of questioning God were saved for us is because we all have such questions at times. Having them recorded in the words of those who wrote our Scriptures gives us permission to be honest too. And, it is in this honesty, that God is given room to be with us “here” again. It doesn’t mean the evil or the suffering are always immediately dealt with, it does mean that the channels for communication between us and God are opened up.
So, don’t be afraid of your questions. What child doesn’t have important questions for even the most caring and loving parent?
And, with a bit of wry humor, perhaps we should always be honest about a different “where” question another Psalmist asked long ago; one most of us children at some point ask concerning both our biological parents and our God. “Where can I go to get away from you for a while” (Ps 139:9).
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