When God’s Not There
I have gone through too many trials that have left me literally yelling at God wondering where He is and why things were happening the way they were and why things haven’t ended yet. Almost every time, things never going how I had in mind and always going down the unwanted and unexpected and uncharted paths with unsure destinations.
I think of how Christ loved Martha, Mary, and Lazarus—one could argue that Lazarus and his two sisters were His closest friends. When near Jerusalem, Jesus actually would spend nights sleeping at their house in Bethany and stay with the three of them.
When Lazarus fell sick, Jesus heard about it, but didn’t go. You can imagine how confused and hurt the three of them were by this, two-fold:
As the Savior, they know that if He came, He could heal him.
As a friend, they were so close, why wouldn’t He go to be with them during a time like that?
When Lazarus died, Jesus heard about it, but still didn’t go. And then a day passed. And then another day passed. And then a third day passed. Why?
Now you can really imagine the heightened feelings of Martha and Mary. I imagine their grief and their potential swirling thoughts: This didn’t have to happen, if He were here, this could have been prevented. Where is He? Why has He not come by now? Why is He not here with us?I thought He loved us? Like Mary and Martha, I can’t count how many times I have wondered those same things, why is this happening, where is He, I thought He loved me. Back in the days of Jesus, culture believed that the spirit lingered around a deceased body three days after passing— so on day three, the deceased were officially dead dead.
Had Christ come any sooner after his death, many would doubt His miracle to raise Lazarus from the grave, or even struggle to call it a miracle at all. Had Christ come sooner and preventedthe death of Lazarus, so many never would have been converted and they would have been shielded from the bigger miracle. A miracle so big, that all the chief priests and the Phariseesheld a council, and said, “What do we? for this man doeth many miracles. If we let him thus alone, all men will believe on him: and the Romans shall come and take away both our place and nation” (John 11:47–48). A miracle so big, they knew in time, ‘none could not believe in Christ.’
Even though it really didn’t seem like they would sometimes, of course things came together eventually through all my trials and my wondering times. I say of course because when we remember who God really is, and His purpose, of course He will bring us to better things, even if on our way to them it’s down a path longer than anticipated. I say of course because if I’m being honest, it was every single unwanted and unexpected path I’ve gone down that has brought me to everything I have now. The best things. My favorite things. And if I’m being honest, it was every single time I was yelling at God and wondering where He was that has brought me to everything I have now, and I hate to imagine my life any different. That’s what He does– it’s His whole purpose for us. Every time I have pushed myself to trust is that He cares, and He is very aware. Both as a Savior and as a friend. And although we are on a longer than anticipated path, we are not abandoned and He is strategically working on our behalf and everything we are asked to do is for a something greater, and nothing is in vain. Is praying for prevention or immediate relief shielding us from a better blessing? Is pleading for our way and our vision placing restrictions on Him? It dawns on my how quickly I am to unintentionally put restrictions on God. What would change if our relationship with God went to what we allow Him to BE instead of dictating what we want Him to DO.What kind of life could we be living if we stopped keeping God at arm’s length? What could our life look like if we trusted Him completely? Are we going to allow doubt from the unwanted and unexpected grip us, or are we going to hold out faithful for a biggermiracle? A miracle so big, ‘none could doubt?’ Are we going to allow God the opportunity to show us how great He is? Are we going to allow God to be God?
Because like the passing time with Lazarus, He knows something we don’t. Something better. xoxAL
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