Where is God in the Shadows?
“Jesus did not come to explain away suffering or remove it. He came to fill it with His presence. ”
— Paul Claudel
This quote has an interesting meaning today, don’t you think?
A natural response when bad things are happening, is why? If God is good and all powerful, why doesn’t He stop the pain and suffering?
God sits with us in our sadness. Accompanies us through the valley of the shadows. Holds our hand in our moments of fear.
Suffering will look different for every believer in Jesus Christ, but the desired end result, when following Christ, should look the same.
1 Peter 4:12-13 MSG says, “Friends, when life gets really difficult, don’t jump to the conclusion that God isn’t on the job. Instead, be glad that you are in the very thick of what Christ experienced. This is a spiritual refining process, with glory just around the corner.”
When I choose to let Him, God fills me with His presence in my spirit and I can feel strong in the middle of the weakness. Emotionally, it’s called the pit of despair for a reason. A hole can be dug inside us so deep that it seems everything good has been excavated from our lives. We all have different ways that happens. You may have lost someone you’ve loved through this virus or found yourself in situations you never dreamed you would be facing.
A pit is dug. And despair is the first visitor that wants to knock at your door.
It’s in those moments I pray for God to get me out of His way. It’s those moments when I start praying for Him to change my heart for what He wants. Pray that I can be aware of His opportunities.
It requires me to trust Him completely. It doesn’t change the loss. It doesn’t improve my earthly situation.
But it does change the suffering.
It allows me to not answer the door to despair and instead invite His presence into the pit. The pit that looks jagged and deep, which turns out to be a God-shaped hole in the center of our beings. A hole that is dug by circumstances and choices, and is filled with His grace.
I am in a place of unknown realities. He has made sure I don’t have to suffer.