When You Wonder If God Is Gone

It was one of the hardest times of our married life.

Seventeen years later, I still remember the nightmare. When my husband had awakened that morning, he was on top of his career. He was upwardly mobile, growing a nice retirement fund, and making more money than he'd ever made before. His nice salary enabled me to only work part time, spending the majority of my days with our two sweet daughters, ages 5 and 2.

Two hours later, it all came crashing down.

He had been laid off.

The next day, planning to go job hunting, he awakened with violent stomach pains. When we went to take him to the doctor that we could no longer afford to pay for, the car wouldn't start. Feeling like Job, we were afraid to even look at our young daughters lest a whirlwind swoop down and carry them away.

"What else can go wrong?" we wondered when one trial after another rocked our world. Worse than the trials were our feelings of abandonment. We felt  forsaken by God. We wondered if He saw our pain. We wondered if He cared.

Jacob felt this way. Estranged from his family, he was alone and fearful.

During the daylight hours, he managed to keep his thoughts at bay, but at night, when all was dark and quiet around him, the doubts would return. On one such night he was dozing, fearful thoughts nipping at the edge of his consciousness like a pack of hungry wolves. Suddenly, the dark thoughts vanished into the brightness of a dream. In his dream, Jacob saw God.

"I am with you and will watch over you wherever you go. I will not leave you,"God said.

Upon awakening, Jacob remarked with amazement,

"God was in this place and I did not know it."

Do you ever feel like Jacob, terribly alone and fearful, wondering if somehow your situation has escaped God's all-seeing eyes? I did that horrible morning when my world seemed to be falling down around me.

Looking back though, I can trace God's hand all the way through our trial. When things were darkest, and I didn't even know how to pray, God's brightness showed up. Looking back I can say,

"God was in this place, and I did not know it."

If you are in the midst of a trial, take comfort. God sees. God cares, and God is able to work in even the darkest situations.

Two thousand years ago, Emmanuel, "God with us" was born into our world. Will you look for God in your situation today? I pray that you will say with Jacob,

"God is in this place."

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