Yet again, he threw another controversial question that stirred an already ruffled hornet’s nest.

Where were you, God, when we needed help?

This is a sentiment expressed in the open, which, if we are just honest to ourselves, each of us, probably asked at one point in our lives.

For some of us, the answer came in due time. For others, the question still continues to linger.

When life hurts—babies are raped, innocent people are killed and law-abiding citizens drop like flies, our capacity to hurt and to share in the sufferings of others surfaces. Why indeed, does tragedy occur? If God loves us, why does he allow evil to thrive?

During my days of ignorance, I considered these questions valid. They gnawed at my soul, and the lack of answers justified my disbelief in a cosmic being who truly cares. They also gave me the reason to act based on what I felt. Once I thought God didn’t care, it was easy for human judgment to take control. Once people are so wrapped up in licking their own wounds, and seeing others experience the same pain, it is natural to look for a whipping boy. We throw accusations left and right — even God himself is not spared.

Blame game we play. We look outside of ourselves – blame the government, the neighbor, the man on the street, the cosmic powers—anyone and anything, except take responsibility and own up for our being “remiss” in our God-given duty as created beings.

Have we not considered that the pain we feel as a result of others’ actions may be exactly the same (or even worse) pain that we inflict on others when we exercise our own freewill? This is why the Bible exhorts us to guard our hearts—the center of our emotions, thoughts and will.
“Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life.” (Proverbs 4:23)

When we ask the Great Creator of the universe: “Where were you when we needed you?,” we might as well have told him, “You should have made a robot out of us.” “You should not have created us with the freedom to act according to our choices, be they foolish or not. It is the same as asking him, “Why did you give us a brain that we can think and ponder on what to do in the world we live in?” Why did you give us the capacity to feel and feel the hurt of living in this vile world? Why didn’t you just make us non-thinking, non-feeling and non-acting beings, like zombies, perhaps?

God’s “seeming silence” in the face of suffering and human tragedy, leads us to ask foolish questions. If God exists, and truly loves us, then life should not hurt at all, right? But then again, what percentage among the billions of people in the world, died of grief, or heartache? What if this same anguish is the very thing we need so we can learn what is essential (and the little prince says, it is that which is naked to the eye)? The question, Where were you God when we needed you? is the same question that will lead us to our journey to seek the balm to our bleeding heart.

Answers don’t come ahead of the questions. The desire to be released from pain and suffering emanates from a pierced heart. Ask Job. Ask Joseph. Ask the Lord Jesus himself.

Where were you, God, when we needed help?

This question is a reflection of a heart that is yet to know God and the depth of his love. But this question may well lead the questioner to a journey of discovery of who God is and why he allows pain and suffering.

It is not a walk in the park. As it is, the path is narrow and strewn with thorns. But the pain is essential. I once heard somewhere that “God is not concerned with our comfort, but with our character.” And one’s character is never fortified in times of pleasure or prosperity, or in the lap of luxury, but in times of pain.

Where were you, God, when we needed help?

The president posed the question. Now everybody ponders on it. Finally, God has “come” into our consciousness. And when he comes into the picture, he will make his presence felt. Anyone whom God touches, limps. Anyone who has encountered him, never stays the same.
I know because I have experienced him in the face of personal suffering. In my own finite mind, I also tried to make sense of this issue on pain and suffering in a previous post, and just like the psalmist who knew what pain was, and Job who “argued” with God (while in torment over the sting of boils on his body and over the loss of his possessions and family), I too, found the answer. And now, I can only say to God, whom I now call, Father,

                               “I was good for me to be afflicted
                                that I might learn your decrees.” Psalm 119:71

                               “My ears had heard of you
                                but now my eyes have seen you.
                                Therefore I despise myself and
                                repent in dust and ashes.” Job 42: 5-6

 

Is God indifferent to our pain?

My friend, he knows the turmoil of our soul.

He experienced it on Calvary.