If You’re Hurting and Wondering Where God Was, He’s Weeping With You

One of the hardest questions we wrestle with as believers is where God is when tragedy strikes our homes. If we believe in the sovereignty of God, then we know in our hearts that He could have intervened, could have stopped the accident from happening, the cancer from spreading, the company from going under, the marriage from collapsing. Because our God is the true miracle-worker, but sometimes, we are left asking why we were standing there alone when we stood, expectantly waiting for the Miracle-Worker to arrive and save the day. 

And sometimes, He shows up in big, remarkable ways where we can do nothing but exclaim, “Look what God has done!” 

But then there are days when we are left, standing empty-handed, crawling into the arms of God asking Him where He was when we needed Him.

But then there are days when we are left, standing empty-handed, crawling into the arms of God asking Him where He was when we needed Him. 

These are moments of great confusion. Feelings of betrayal well up into a lump in my own throat as I try to reason with myself why a good God would allow His people to undergo such heartache. 

My temptation is to simply try and stuff down those feelings quickly by trying to claim some deeper theological understanding of God’s goodness exceeding my own. And while I know His ways are above my own, I think this desire to move past the heartache and confusion, to pretend that all is well even when it feels that I might burst into a million pieces, it misguided. 

When Mary reached the place where Jesus was and saw him, she fell at his feet and said, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.”

When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who had come along with her also weeping, he was deeply moved in spirit and troubled. “Where have you laid him?” he asked.

“Come and see, Lord,” they replied.

Jesus wept. – John 11:32-35, ESV

This passage has often been nourishment to my weeping soul. Because Jesus listened when we Mary knew he could have healed her brother before He died and wondered why He hadn’t shown up when they needed Him. She believed and felt let down by Jesus. 

And instead of pushing it aside, she confronted those icky, complicated feelings and told Him. She told Him that if He had intervened, all would have been well. 

I fear being real with God when my emotions don’t fit neatly into a theological understanding of God’s sovereignty.

I fear being real with God when my emotions don’t fit neatly into a theological understanding of God’s sovereignty.

Instead of recognizing my loving God, I fear that I will be chided for my lack of faith, my lack of trust in His goodness. 

I fear being real with God when my emotions don’t fit neatly into a theological understanding of God’s sovereignty. But Jesus allows me to come and weep over what is broken. Click To Tweet

Because deep in my heart, I know that God is good, even as the ragged cut of this sinful, broken world cuts through my lives and the lives of those dear to me. But while I know He is good and is working all things for the good of those who love Him, I also know that those things can bring us to the end of ourselves and leave us begging for Him to intervene like Mary surely was before her brother died. 

And so God allows me to sit at His feet, asking wide-eyed why He didn’t intervene just like He allowed Mary to ask Christ while He stood with her ourself her brothers grave. 

Instead of reprimanding Mary, Jesus stood and was moved by the depth of her emotion. He saw the raw pain behind that question and the heart that was aching to know where He was when Lazarus died. Because behind the statement, “if you had been here” is the aching question, “Why weren’t you here? Did you even care?” 

Moments of great heartache, when the world feels like it’s crumbling under the brokenness of sin, are the moments when we want the loving embrace of our Heavenly Father.

Moments of great heartache, when the world feels like it’s crumbling under the brokenness of sin, are the moments when we want the loving embrace of our Heavenly Father.

But when we don’t feel His healing touch, when we don’t see the intervention we prayed for, when our deep fears unfold and no one around us responds by saying, “Look at what her God did!,” we feel abandoned. 

Jesus saw the brokenness in Mary’s life and the heart behind her statement. I don’t think Mary was speaking with a tone of accusation or anger, but deep hurt. And Jesus felt that she was hurting and embraced the deep, complex emotions. 

And Jesus wept too. 

And Jesus wept too. 

Even though only minutes later her brother would walk out of his tomb miraculously raised from the dead, He didn’t tell her it would be okay eventually to try to comfort her with future thoughts. He simply embraced the complexity of life that is wrecked by the effects of sin, sin He would defeat, and embraced the women feeling the brokenness. 

Today, I might not have the benefit of seeing the dead raised or truths I know in my heart of God’s goodness made evident but I do know that I serve a God who is big enough for my confusion and pain. He can handle my questions wondering where He was, He can handle my heart doubting if this is truly good, He can handle my broken emotions. 

And not only can God handle my broken emotions, but He weeps with me when I am in pain.

And not only can God handle my broken emotions, but He weeps with me when I am in pain.

Jesus doesn’t simply point to the end of the picture and remind me that it will be alright so to neglect what I’m feeling now, He steps into the pain of the moment and recognizes the brokenness that He came to redeem.  Click To Tweet

He doesn’t simply point to the end of the picture and remind me that it will be alright so to neglect what I’m feeling now, He steps into the pain of the moment and recognizes the brokenness that He came to redeem. 

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I don’t know what keeps God from intervening on my behalf when I boldly ask Him to show Himself in a mighty way, but I do know that when I am busted into pieces by this sinful-torn world, He is there weeping with me. 

I don’t know what keeps God from intervening on my behalf when I boldly ask Him to show Himself in a mighty way, but I do know that when I am busted into pieces by this sinful-torn world, He is there weeping with me.  Click To Tweet

Because no one knows the brokenness of the world more than Jesus.

Because no one knows the brokenness of the world more than Jesus. And no one has been more crushed by the weight of sin than the Man of Sorrows who was beaten and bruised and brutally slaughtered so that it may no longer reign over us. 

So we can trust that the future will bring hope, but we don’t have to use that hope as an excuse to stuff down the real, raw emotions that the brokenness of sin bring because even Jesus didn’t do that. Jesus may not have intervened when Mary had hoped, but He did intervene eventually. And in the in-between? He sat and wept because even though the brokenness was temporary, it was real. 

And today? There is much brokenness that is still real, still waiting, begging for the King to come and make it all right. While the pain may be real and may feel crushing at times, I think that greater pain is often fear is that God didn’t think we were worth showing up for, that we’ve been abandoned. But God is here, meeting us in this place, crying alongside us. And while all is not well in this moment, that knowledge makes each moment slightly more bearable while we wait for the lifting of the burden. 

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