Out of all the big questions that we ask about God, ” Where is God when we suffer?” may be the biggest.
My suffering is not great on a global scale, however the past couple of weeks have been a challenge for me. I’ve been struggling with some whiplash that left me weak and painful. Moreover I was struggling with the side effects of the medication that I was taking to treat whiplash.
I have a tendency toward anxiety and the steroid shots that I received send my panic and anxiety into overdrive.
One day while home alone, I was particularly struggling with both the pain and the panic. I tried deep breathing. I tried relaxing my muscles. I tried praying and praying all to no avail. Finally I decided to turn on Netflix for some distraction.
In a medicated attempt to search for When Harry Met Sally I ended up queuing up Where is God when I’m Scared?” by the Veggie Tales. I am NOT and have never been a fan of Veggie Tales, but I decided that this choice suited the moment and maybe God was moving through Netflix, so I humbled myself and went with it.
The Scripture passage the vegetables were talking about that day was Daniel in the lion’s den. Two things stand out to me in my tear stained memory of that show.
The God who loves you and calls you by name
is bigger than all of your fear.
And this God is With You, even in the lion’s den.
Though I am getting better and better each day I find myself still clinging to those two truths.
And if you are going through a hard time or otherwise struggle with fear, I would offer these to you as well (without you even having to humble yourself to animated vegetables).
No matter what fearsome monster is chasing you
or just the sheer brokenness of it all
God’s love is bigger by far.
And no matter what your lion’s den looks like or how long you are in it, you are not alone. The lions may roar and even bite, but God is right beside you preserving you.
Because it turns out God does not pluck us out of our suffering, but sits with us and loves us through it. So that we may endure it till its passing or until we pass into that greater reality where suffering is totally eclipsed by God’s presence and love.
Until then friends, may your hardships be light. But if they are not, always remember you are loved and never alone.
And know that I will be glad to pray for your struggles even as I find my way through my own.