Daily encouragement

Video by

Allie Gardner

dive deeper

Psalm 145:18

“The LORD is near to all who call on him, to all who call on Him in truth.”

Behind the Scenes

Many people view God as a distant task master who is simply standing back and shaking His head at us. They feel like He might be in the big things but is not close and involved in our day-to-day. But our verse today tells us differently — He is close to all who call on Him in truth.  

What does that look like and what exactly does it mean? If He’s close to us, why is it so hard to hear and feel Him sometimes? Why are my prayers not answered? Why do bad things happen to good people? And these are excellent questions.  

I’ve been sitting on the Grand Jury lately, and we have seen and heard some really terrible things. I was really struggling dealing with some of those things, so a friend suggested I ask, “Jesus, where are You in this?” And for my own trauma as well, “Jesus where were You in that?” But instead of comforting me, it really rocked me. It rocked how I viewed God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit. You see, if I ask where Jesus was in those situations, and I find that He was right there, then I’m going to naturally ask, “Why didn’t You stop it?”

And the truth is, that is a very real and hard question. We want to know why bad things happen to good people. If God loves us, why does He allow us to suffer? Suffering comes because of one of three different things, or maybe even a combination of the following: 1) We live in a fallen world. 2) As a consequence of our own sin. 3) We have an enemy who wants to kill and destroy us.  

I don’t have an answer to why God doesn’t step in and stop bad things from happening, but Isaiah 55:8-9 reminds us, “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.”

Make it Real

While I don’t have a concrete answer for our questions about suffering, other than God is God, I do know that He is close to us when we call on Him and that He brings beauty from our ashes. He uses all things for His purpose and His glory. And since God is good, we know that His purpose is good! Psalm 34:8, “Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good! Blessed is the man who takes refuge in him!”

Even in our suffering, God does not leave us, “The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit” (Psalm 34:18). Does it take faith to truly believe this? Of course, but through that faith, through trusting that God is good and that He loves us, we can grow closer to Him. Because God does want the best for us: “To grant to those who mourn in Zion, to give them a beautiful headdress instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, the garment of praise instead of a faint spirit; that they may be called oaks of righteousness, the planting of the LORD, that he may be glorified” (Isaiah 61:3).

So, while I struggle with the question, “Jesus, where were you in my trauma?” I don’t struggle with knowing He is near to me now. If I call on Him and trust in Him, regardless of how I feel, I can know that He is with me while I work through and process the things I’m seeing on the Grand Jury duty and even working through my own trauma. I can call out to Him in my frustration and pain and KNOW that He will be close to me, minister to me, love me and hold me. Because God IS good.

End in Prayer

Oh Jesus, LORD, I don’t know Your ways. I don’t know why people have to suffer, but I do know that You will work it all out for Your glory and purpose. You love us and You are close to us, even when we don’t feel You. God help us to dismiss the false feelings and cling to the truth of who You are. Jesus, until we see you face-to-face, we remain in Your hope and pray in Your name — Amen!

Written by

Colleen McGeorge

ACF Groups Coordinator