Have you ever had a moment when you looked around at life and thought, “Where is God in all of this?”
Maybe your marriage was falling apart; you were facing the loss of a loved one; or you were struggling to balance work/kids/friends/finances. Maybe it was during the 5:00 p.m. hour when your children were losing their minds, your phone wouldn’t stop ringing, everyone needed help with their math homework and dinner was burning in the oven. Maybe it was in month three of Coronavirus quarantine when the world seemed to fall apart around us. You just had a moment where nothing seemed to make sense anymore, and God seemed to have disappeared from the picture completely. Or at the very least, taken an extended vacation and not left anyone in charge of the place.
If you haven’t had that moment yet, wait for it. It’s coming.
In those moments, sometimes we can fall back on overused phrases we use to decorate our homes and throw pillows with to get us through:
“God never gives us more than we can handle.”
Lord, there is no more room in my hands, and I’m balancing things on my toes, head and elbows.
“Be still and know.”
Wouldn’t you like a second to be still?
“God is always with us.”
Terrific. Can He please let the puppy out before it has an accident in the house?
But sometimes, the throw pillows and framed words aren’t enough. Sometimes, it feels like God has abandoned us. And then sometimes, we wonder if He was ever really there at all.
It’s in those moments that we need to do what God’s people have done for thousands of years: tell the stories of what God has done for us in the past. In the book of Exodus, the Israelites (God’s people), were freed from slavery to the Egyptians by miracles that could only be attributed to God. As they were leaving Egypt, their leader, Moses, told them that each year, they must reenact the last meal they ate and tell the story to their children. In Exodus 13:8, Moses said, “On that day, tell your son, ‘I do this because of what the Lord did for me when I came out of Egypt’.”
God knew how short our memories would be and how quickly we’d forget what He has done — even miracles like the Israelites had seen and experienced firsthand. Telling their children the stories not only meant the generations to come would know what happened, but that they themselves would remember.
When our world is crashing down, we must tell ourselves and our families the stories of what God has done in the past. How He has provided for us, forgiven us, and loved us when we were unlovable; those are the stories we need to call upon in the midst of uncertainty.
God truly is always with us, just like the throw pillows say. But sometimes, we have to look behind us to see him in the present.