“Meanwhile, where is God? This is one of the most disquieting symptoms. When you are happy, so happy that you have no sense of needing Him, so happy that you are tempted to feel His claims upon you as an interruption, if you remember yourself and turn to Him with gratitude and praise, you will be—or so it feels—welcomed with open arms. But go to Him when your need is desperate, when all other help is vain, and what do you find? A door slammed in your face, and a sound of bolting and double bolting on the inside. After that, silence. You may as well turn away. The longer you wait, the more emphatic the silence will become. There are no lights in the windows. It might be an empty house. Was it ever inhabited? It seemed so once. And that seemed as strong as this. What can this mean? Why is He so present a commander in our time of prosperity and so very absent a help in time of trouble?”
Excerpt From A Grief Observed by C. S. Lewis
If you are like me and C.S Lewis who wrote the book a grief observed after the death of his wife, you must have asked the question where God. Where He is in view of the pain, tragedies, war, and famine, deaths wrought by man’s cruelty, ambition, greed and selfishness? If you are like me, your faith must have gone through a phase where you think surely, we human beings are nothing but pawns on a chessboard moved about without any consideration for our feelings and emotions. If you are like me, you must be jaded about religion and how it is practiced and desire to know more about the essence of this life and why we are in it.
If you are like me and millions of others you surely must wonder why there is so much evil and what part God plays or does not play in its occurrence. If you are like me you must wonder why we make attempts to justify evil when it happens.
I guess as a practicing Christian, I have an inkling as to why there is so much darkness all around but that doesn’t make it understandable at all. Some of the many things we say to comfort ourselves are just platitudes, things we say because we don’t know what to say. Things we say because that’s what we’ve heard others say in similar situations. Things we don’t think about but just blab out because if we really think about some of the things we say we would know just how unreasonable they sound.
Things like- it’s God’s wish. He is in a better place, It’s for the greater good, we can’t question God. When I hear statements like these I wonder if the speakers are privy to God’s plans and purposes. If they know exactly what he wanted to achieve. I wonder if God showed them secrets He is hiding because how can they speak so boldly about things they know absolutely nothing about.
The truth is that there is so much we do not and cannot know and to project that we do is to deceive ourselves. I am sure most of us have heard of or at least read the book of Job which is said to be the oldest book in the Bible. Job was afflicted with loss of his wealth, adult children, properties and finally his health. After calamity upon calamity befell him, Job stopping short of cursing God bemoaning his fate to the hearing of everyone that could hear him. At first his three friends who came to commiserate with him, shocked at the sight of the man who looked nothing like the person they once knew, and the gravity of all that had befallen him sat with him for a total of seven days listening to him.
Finally, for want of something to say and in a bid to provide answers to questions they didn’t even know how to ask ,they began like so many of us still do to search for reasons for Job’s present situation and of cos sin, guilt, shame and the blame game were ready weapons in their arsenal.
We are like Jobs friends, we sit in our homes and spin theories about what caused the calamity or troubles someone else is going through, berating them for things they may have no control over, we immediately sit in judgment over them rationalizing that they were not praying enough, not diligent enough, not dedicated enough and then we rush in with all manner of advice and invites to that prayer camp where miracles take place, that morning prayer session where people have had turnarounds in their lives, that pastor, prophet, Imam whose prayers God is bound to answer. As time goes by and their situation remains the same we conclude that even God is opposed to them.
I do not intend to hold brief for God but I get irritated when we are told not to question God as if when we question Him, He will be so upset because He has no answers or He will be irritated and strike us down for daring to make sense of what has befallen us.
I get doubly irritated when friends and well wishers who mostly wish well, keep pushing invites of miracle centers or prayers to us because they think it’s want we need most, when in fact we are tired of hearing people beseech God on our behalf, tired of being singled out in the midst of the congregation, tired of being seen as different because things have happened or are happening to us, tired of talking to God and meeting with silence.
I get triply irritated when someone says using the story of Job that our suffering will bring about more of what was lost and that like Job we will recover all that was lost. That may be understandable in the loss of physical and material things but it surely is an insult when it concerns human beings . Children born after the death of a child can never take the place of the lost soul. Another wife or husband cannot take the place of the dead spouse. Please don’t misunderstand me, we may be consoled but that does not take the pain of the loss away.
The question still remains where God is and the answer is always right there beside you, loving and comforting. Why he doesn’t act sometimes no one can ever know except he chooses to reveal it and no one should pretend to know. What is undeniable is that he has never sold us a lie that life is without troubles but he has promised he will be with us. We don’t always see him when things go wrong at least not at first and I guess it’s because of the pain that beclouds our minds and reasoning but one thing as sure as day is that he wants us to ask him those difficult questions even though he may not answer us, he wants us to come to him and not run away from him even when we feel he has deserted us, he wants to comfort us if we will allow him and he wants us to know he is God and he alone is God.
Never be afraid to ask the question where God is, you just may or may not get an answer.