11/05/2016 - "Where is God?"
This week, I shared on my Facebook a 10 second clip from a friend. It presents a girl, about three years old, with her face down on the ground. She looks like she's sleeping near a dumpster. A lot of flies can be seen crawling on her legs and hands. A short text can be seen under the clip, “A Syrian child abandoned in a dumpster.” She is not dead because she’s moving one of her legs…
You cannot watch this short clip without crying. You cannot forget the clip after you watch it. When I posted this clip I wrote a short message as an explanation to it, “Human suffering doesn’t know limits in some regions of our world. An abandoned child beside a place where people deposit their garbage…can there be something more sad than this picture? I ask myself, what can I do for these people?...Do you have any idea?...”
Tens of my friends – maybe hundreds – watched this clip and then some of them expressed their feelings as comments. Nothing unusual so far. One of them said, “This is not possible!...Where is God?”
This question stroke me profoundly, “Where is God?” Not because I have different feelings about it or a different outlook on it. Actually a little girl sleeping or unconscious, abandoned near a dumpster is a terrible picture, but it represents the suffering of our world that according to Job, “It would surely outweigh the sand of the seas” Job 6:3.
Our problem - when we look and see so much pain – is not that suffering is an intrinsic part of our life, but where is God in this picture? Why doesn’t He do anything to save the life of this “little Syrian girl?” Maybe He did something and I don’t know. Actually I am not talking just about that little girl but about other millions of “little girls and boys,” not only from Syria but all over the world.
We have to admit that the Bible doesn’t give us an answer to all our questions. But for the questions, “Where is God when we suffer," here is the answer, “The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit” Psalms 34:18. God suffers with them, He cries with them, He encourages them, and He is close to them. Maybe our next question is, “Why doesn’t He do anything to save these people from their troubles?” It is not easy to find an answer to this question. Sometimes He delays His intervention for a reason that only He knows, or instead of saving someone from suffering, He gives power and patience to that person. Job is a good example of this issue.
Where was God when His Son died on the cross? He was right there, suffering with His beloved Son.
What a blessing, what a relief is God’s promise from Revelation 21:1-4, “I saw 'a new heaven and a new earth,' for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away… ‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’ or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.”
Until then, trust in the Lord and do your best to lessen the suffering of your neighbor and be a blessing to others.