“Meanwhile, where is God? This is one of the most disquieting symptoms. When you are happy, so happy that you have no sense of needing him, if you turn to Him with praise, you will be welcomed with open arms. But go to Him when your need is desperate, when all other help is vain and what do you find? A door slammed in your face and a sound of bolting and doubles bolting on the inside. After that, silence. You may as well turn away”.
The British author C.S. Lewis writes in his much acclaimed book ‘A Grief observed’. Lewis wrote this based on the reflections of the death of his wife who died of cancer just after three years in marriage. In the book, he tells more of what it is to be in such situations yet many others think he nearly lost his faith because of this tragedy. In life we meet a lot of situations which sweep us off feet. Why is it so? Mainly it is because they come at a time we don’t expect, or that some of them may be perpetrated by the people we trust much. There are times when relationships break, we literally become bankrupt, or at times our reputation is compromised by some ‘bad guys’ who go around talking maliciously about us. Others of us are currently suffering from chronic illnesses, gradually being eaten up on our death bed.
At such times it is when others start doubting the existence of God in our lives. But stop a minute my friend, The Psalmist says in chapter 118 verse 5 “During times of trouble I called upon the LORD. The LORD answered me and set me free from all my troubles”. In this scripture, the writer of Psalms only wanted to show us how our Almighty God is capable of getting us out of our most troubling moments as He did with King Hezekiah in 2 Kings 20 where he was told that he would die and because Hezekiah lived under the Old Covenant, and at that time there was not a confident assurance of the glory in the life beyond. Instead, Jesus brought life and immortality came to light through the Gospel (2 Timothy 1:10). Also under the Old covenant Hezekiah would have regarded this as evidence that God was very displeased with him, but for us today let us allow such moments so that they can draw us near to God
Let me conclude by telling this sad story narrated by Elie Wiesel, a holocaust survivor which happened in the Jewish concentration camp of Buna. A cache of arms had been discovered and they belonged to a Dutchman, who was immediately shipped away to Auschwitz. But the Dutchman also had a pipel young boy who served him, and the guards began torturing the boy. The pipel had a refined and beautiful face that the camp had not yet ruined-the face, the face of a ‘sad little angel’. When the young boy refused to cooperate with his interrogators, the authorities sentenced him to death, along with other two other prisoners who were caught with arms. After the day’s work, the people saw three gallows rearing p in the assembly place, three black crows. Three victims in chains-and one of them the little servant, the sad eyed angel. The head of the camp read the verdict. All eyes were on the child. He was vividly pale, almost calm, biting his lips. The gallows with its shadow over him. The three victims mounted together onto the chairs. The three necks were placed at the same moment within the noose; “Long live liberty!” cried the two adults.
But the child was silent. “Where is God? Where is He?” someone behind me asked. At a sign from the head of the camp, the three chairs were tipped over. Total silence throughout the camp. On the horizon, the sun was setting. “Bare your heads!” yelled the head of the camp. His voice was raucous. We were weeping. Then the march past began. The two adults were no longer alive. Their tongues hung swollen, blue tinged. But the third rope was still moving; being so light, the child was still alive,,,,,
For more than half an hour he stayed there, struggling between life and death, dying in slow agony under our eyes. And we had to look him full in the face. He was still alive when I passed in front of him. His tongue was still red, his eyes not yet glazed. Behind me, I heard the same man asking again; “Where is God now?” And I heard a voice within me answered him, “Where is He? Here he is- He is hanging here on this gallows,,,,,”.
Beloved brothers and sisters God did hang beside the young pipel. God did not exempt even himself from human suffering. He too hung on gallows, at Calvary, and that alone is what keeps me believing in a God of love. In our toughest moments ,,remember Romans 8:35-39 encourages us in a way that “Nothing shall separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus”.
May the good Lord give us strength as we strive to find him in our saddest moments!!!