Everyone, who has gone through sorrow or tragedy, asks “Where are you God?” Maybe not out loud or maybe they try to dismiss it but deep within them it’s always wondered. C.S. Lewis describes when you are in most need of Him that it feels like, “a door slammed in your face, and a sound of bolting and double bolting on the inside. After that, silence.” (Lewis, 18) I have felt this too. Your mind and your feelings play tricks on you. Although deep within your soul you know that God has promised to never leave you, it is almost impossible to shake that feeling that you are alone.
And then over the next couple of days I made a beautiful discovery. I have had many good days that are magnified into great days by the love of others. And there are bad days that are turned into good days by love. One big contributer is Gabriella, my daughter. At a young age, when she is learning and discovering so much, expressing her love for me is surprising and unexpected. My heart leaps out of my chest when she looks at me, her eyes wide and alive, her smile covering her entire face as she leans in to give me a big kiss. She can’t talk, but she sure knows how to love. It’s the most wonderful thing in the world, but it cannot be forced and it cannot be controlled. If it was, it would completely loose its value. There are also bad days that are hard and seemingly unrelenting, and no matter how much on those days I want Gabby to shower me with love and kisses, she won’t and I cannot force her.
And yet, wanting immediate relief from my pain by receiving love from my baby girl, doesn’t work! It is only true and real when it is uncontrolled. Those times, in the unexpected moments, her love is sweeter then the sweetest honey. Just like I know Gabby loves me, I know my God loves me, but showing that love cannot be forced. He is mysterious, and cannot be contained. He is not controlled by our feelings. His love for me is constant, but the expressions of His love are often a complete and joyous surprise. It is addictive, and when I don’t feel His love I find myself crying out in desperation for it, seeking and looking and seeking more. And it seems in my despair that I am groping around in the darkness.
Many have felt this feeling that God is far from them. Psalms 22 1-2 says, “My God, My God, why have you forsaken me? . . . O my God, I cry out by day, but you do not answer, and by night I find no rest.” Written by David and quoted by Jesus. But what faith would we have if we could access the immediate feeling of God’s love any time we wanted? Is it a refreshing drink we can just pull out of the fridge whenever we want? Psalms 22: 3-4; 9 says, Yet you are holy . . . In you our fathers trusted; they trusted and you delivered them. Yet you are he who took me from the womb; you made me trust you . . .” This is true faith; trusting Him despite feeling very far from Him.
Then when I least expect it, and my strength has failed, He picks me up and is my comfort.
In the very next chapter Psalms 23:2-3 He draws us in to Himself. “He makes me lie down in green pastures, He leads me beside still waters. He restores my soul. . . .” And in our affliction and suffering we remember, “Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me (v.4).”
Oh, How He loves us!