Are You There, God?

I was maybe a second grader when it was released, but I’m aware of an Elton John song with the following lyrics: “If there’s a God in heaven / What’s he waiting for?” It seems like many people ask the question, in one form or another, “Where’s God?” Of course spiritual skeptics ask this, but even longtime believers wonder about the same thing. As preacher and author Brian Jones writes, based on many years of experience dealing with hurting people, “I’ve never met an atheist who didn’t have a good reason for being one.”
I have to agree with these words. There are plenty of reasons to doubt God or even deny His existence. I know that sounds like blasphemy, but I must admit honestly that I don’t fully understand things like earthquakes claiming thousands of lives, criminals hurting and killing other people, drunk drivers destroying families through a terrible decision, babies being abandoned, and children dealing with cancer, just to name a few. I truly believe that God exists and that He is good, but sometimes I struggle to make much sense out of life in this world.
Some people have better “spiritual eyes” than I do; they know personally the power of prayer and they see what’s really going on in the face of unbelievably difficult times. As one example, my son’s friend is a 19-year-old young man who suffered through cancer a couple of years ago, who fought it and beat it at that time, only to have it return. This young man’s mother wrote an update on the situation:
“Micah is sleeping through his last day of high dose chemo. His counts are down so we are being very careful (masks, sanitizing everything, etc). Next comes two days of “rest” then stem cells on Tuesday. He still has a great attitude but there are not as many smiles right now as he doesn’t feel good. We are waiting for increased side effects but have not seen the bad ones yet (thanks to God for answering prayers on that).”
Now read this next part of what Micah’s mom wrote, and remember that she’s a mother who is watching her son endure this horrible, exhausting, painful experience of battling a scary, life-threatening disease: “It’s something else to be on this side of receiving prayer support. I know we will not fully understand the spiritual realm that happens here on earth until we enter the presence of our Father, but there is something unexplainable about feeling peace while walking this path. We all have our own journey that we experience alone (and for believers, experience with Christ), but to actually feel your prayers makes us able to step into another day with confidence that He has a plan that is greater than ours. All to say, thank you for praying for Micah and our family…we feel it and we are grateful.”
I want to be like Micah’s mom when I grow up (I’m 50 years old, but I have a lot of maturing to do). I want that kind of perspective to get me through the things I just don’t understand in this life. And I want to live with the sincere trust that something much better is still to come.
As God reminds us in His Word: “For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all” (2 Corinthians 4:17). I find comfort in these words from God, not because my troubles seem at all “light” or “momentary,” but because the eternal glory will make my troubles seem minor and insignificant by comparison.
As I navigate my days on this earth in the meantime, I need to hold on to the thoughts that Thomas Merton put into words better than I can myself: “You will lead me by the right road though I may know nothing about it. Therefore will I trust you always though I may seem to be lost and in the shadow of death. I will not fear, for you are ever with me, and you will never leave me to face my perils alone.”
Troy Burns