“I was an altar boy and loved Father Michael.”
“I never missed his Sunday school class.”
“He seemed like God himself by smiling, listening to me, and expressing sympathy.”
The stories start differently, but they all ask the where-were-you-God question. I understand the confusion of someone who’s trying to relate to a God who says he loves us.
We seem to think that if we love God nothing bad happens to us.
This morning, however, I was reading the story of Joseph in the Bible. Why didn’t God protect him from being sold into slavery, falsely accused of rape, and thrown in prison? Didn’t he love Joseph?
David, designated by God to be Israel’s king, spent years running from the attempts on his life by King Saul.
The only answer I’ve ever had and which has brought me comfort was from the mouth of Joseph himself.
He became the number two ruler in Egypt. Later, when famine struck the entire Middle East, Joseph spared the lives of his family. In the final chapter of Genesis, the ten older brothers, fearing that Joseph will take revenge on them, say, “We are your slaves” (Genesis 50:18).
He tells them, “You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives” (verse 20).
That’s my answer: God doesn’t promise to protect us from hardships, pain, and evil. He does promise to be with us while we’re going through our tribulations.
I’ve been a serious Christian since I was 21 or 22. I hate the abusive childhood I endured. But now I know there was a divine purpose. God was with me. And God has taken away all that abuse, healed me, and is teaching me to be more compassionate for others.
I didn’t see God in my young life,
but he was with me the whole time.
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