“Where was God? Where was He when this was happening?”
This is one of the most common questions I hear in ministry sessions. It embodies so many painful and limiting beliefs; perhaps biggest amongst those is the belief that a person is so bad or worthless that even God isn’t there for them.
Recently I was talking and praying with a woman and this very question and underlying belief came, very emotionally, to the table. It was a moment of great despair and hopelessness. However, as she continued sharing immense anger emerged, anger at God that He would purport Himself to be a God of love and protection yet He did not show up in a moment of personal crisis.
I asked her if it would be okay for me to ask Jesus if there was anything He wanted to reveal to her about her beliefs and her anger. I assured her she did not have to like what the Lord may reveal or believe what He may reveal; I was simply asking her to be available to Him. She agreed, and in the following minutes the Lord brought scripture to her mind.
The full context of what He shared with her is found in 1 Samuel 13. King Saul and the armies of Israel are battling the Philistines and it is not looking good for the Israelites. In fact, it was so dire many of the soldiers were hiding in caves and bushes. The prophet Samuel had sent word to King Saul that he would arrive at the scene in seven days to intercede for them. Let me pick up the scripture at this point (verses 7-13):
Saul remained at Gilgal, and all the troops were quaking with fear. He waited seven days, the time set by Samuel; but Samuel did not come to Gilgal, and Saul’s men began to scatter. So he said, “Bring me the burnt offerings and the fellowship offerings.” And Saul offered up the burnt offering. Just as he finished making the offering, Samuel arrived, and Saul went out to greet him.
“What have you done?” asked Samuel.
Saul replied, “When I saw that the men were scattering, and that you did not come at the set time, and that the Philistines were assembling at Micmash, I thought, ‘Now the Philistines will come down against me at Gilgal and I have not sought the Lord’s favor.’ So I felt compelled to offer the burnt offering.”
“You acted foolishly,” Samuel said.
As the woman in my office pondered what God was bringing to mind, she shared the truth being revealed to her. She looked at me and simply stated: “I do not wait for God. In fear, I have always felt compelled to run ahead and try to fix it myself. Where was God? He was coming but I didn’t wait.” There was no condemnation in this revelation. Jesus simply wanted her to understand that He is always faithful; however, she often just missed Him because of her own choices.