"Where is the Lord?"

Bible Reading: Jeremiah 1; 2; 3:1-5

My friend and I got up early one morning, hoping to see a beautiful sunrise. Darkness gradually gave way to dawn, as the early morning sky was slowly lit. The sun, however, would not show itself through the thick blanket of clouds that covered the horizon. "Where is the sun?" we asked.

The dark clouds matched our disposition that morning. Our dear friend had finally lost her long battle with cancer. Why had she been required to endure such pain? Why did her children have to lose their mother? Why did her husband have to lose his closest companion and raise their children alone? Why did she have to die? Where was God?

Though deeply masked from our view, we could see evidence of the sun's presence in the sky. The trees and fields brightened with color and the clouds displayed a mixture of shadows and glowing reflections as the morning minutes faithfully ticked by. Determined to see the sun, we stubbornly waited for it to break above the clouds.

Determined also to see God's goodness, we persistently prayed and studied God's word, stubbornly seeking some kind of explanation or purpose. When we looked around for evidence of God's presence, it was clearly there. Even so, the dark clouds of discouragement continued to obscure his love and purpose from our understanding. Was it wrong to question God's ways? Did God frown with displeasure when we cried out, "Where are you, God?"

As we opened our Bibles to Jeremiah 2, we read the words of a God whose heart was broken. He fondly reminisced of a time when his people, like a young bride, had loved and honored him. Though he had lavishly loved and cared for them, they had turned away from him to chase after false gods and worthless idols. God wondered what fault they had found in him, that they had strayed so far from him. Forsaken and forgotten, he cried in despairing disbelief, "They did not ask, ‘Where is the Lord?’" (2:6, 8).

While my friend and I sat, wondering, "Where is the sun?" we knew that God also wanted us to ask, "Where is the Lord?" He would rather have us honestly grapple with our faith than to angrily withdraw our disillusioned hearts from him. As the sun began to peek through a few holes in the clouds that morning, God whispered to our hearts, "See! Here I am!" Over the following months, as we wrestled with our pain and doubt, he faithfully gave us glimpses of his love and purpose. When his plan was beyond our understanding, he reminded us, "As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts" (Isaiah 55:9).

When we finally saw the sun break above the clouds that morning, our hearts were filled with hope, that we would eventually see God shining brightly and boldly into our lives, as in days past. Some of our questions will never be answered on this earth, but we are learning to trust in the goodness of God, even when it is deeply hidden behind our clouds of pain.

"Where is the Lord?" He is here, working deeply and gently within us, transforming our dark mistrust of his "higher" ways into a radiant assurance of his faithful love.