Tuesday, August 10, 2010

I wrote the following a few days after Shannon died. It was published in the program that was given out at her memorial service. - Mike Gifford

Where Was God?

When facing life’s trials, some begin to wonder if God is really there or, if He is, if He really cares about our suffering. Considering our frailty, such questioning is reasonable, so long as one searches for the answer and doesn’t just throw his hands up in disgust and conclude that God does not exist. Job, Habakkuk, Asaph (Psalm 73) and others engaged in this type of thinking when they were facing difficulties. As we consider the question in this article’s title, I hope that you will indulge me in my personal references. Their usage is the best way I know of providing an answer.

Where was God…

  • …when we learned that Shannon had an aggressive cancer that had arisen suddenly and without warning?
  • … when she nearly died of collapsed lungs caused by the cancer?
  • … when our family was thrown into turmoil with emergency room visits followed by days and then weeks of hospital stays?
  • … when we were told that the cancer was incurable and that the best we could aim for was to make her comfortable in her declining days?
  • … when she lost her battle for life?
  • … when she departed this world?
Now let me tell you where He was…

  • …when we were told of her disease. He was in the same place as He had been the dozens of times in years past that she had previously gone to doctors for checkups and was pronounced healthy.
  • …when she nearly died. He was in the same place as the day the world was blessed with her birth.
  • …when we were experiencing the long days and nights of hospital stays. He was in the same place that He had been on the thousands of days in which we walked freely and in good health.
  • … when we were told that the end for her was near. He was in the same place as He was the day that we fell in love and our world began.
  • … when she lost her battle for life. He was in the same place that He was on the day that He gave His only begotten Son on the cross so that death would not have the victory over His faithful ones (I Corinthians 15:55-58)
  • … when she departed this world. He was in the same place that He was when He welcomed her into His family by virtue of her new birth in immersion in water for the forgiveness of sins (Ephesians 3:15; John 3:3,5).
In essence, the God whom some blame for their woes when they’re in the throes of life’s challenges is the same God who is often forgotten when things are going well. He has not moved. The apostle Paul said that He is not far from every one of us, adding, “For in him we live, and move, and have our being (Acts 17:27-28). Through that same apostle God said, “I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.” (Hebrews 13:5). If in our trials we feel that God is not there it would be wise for us to consider the fact that it is we who have moved, not God. In life’s darkness, thinking that God has forgotten us, we might find ourselves asking, “God, where are you?” but in life’s good days, when we tend to forget God, perhaps He asks, “My child, where are you?”