In The Pain, God Is There

A reflection on how I’ve experienced God meeting with me, inspired by Elijah’s experience with God in 1 Kings 19:8-18.

I feel alone sometimes.

At times it feels like wandering.

Other times it feels like running for my life.

On the outside I can accomplish something big for God. People see it. God shows up. It proves my faith. Right?

Except on the inside I’m still not sure where He is when the big thing is over. Will I still be alone? Wandering? Running for my life?

And so I hide. From others. But mostly from God.

But then He comes and invites me to meet with Him.

And so I go to meet Him where I think He will be: in the big church event. The band. The choir. The singing. The preaching. The altar. It’s the place where people come to meet with God. Right?

But that’s not where He wants to meet with me.

And so I go to meet Him where I think He might be next: in the conference, the concert, the retreat. All the people. The unique setting. The exciting or heavy emotions. This is where big things happen in my life for God. Right?

But that’s not where He wants to meet with me.

And so I go to meet Him where He’s surely got to be: in the mission trip, the outreach, the doing. That’s where people need me. That’s where important things are accomplished. This is where God wants to work in big ways thru me. Right?

But that’s not where He wants to meet with me.

And so I’m unsure where He wants to meet with me.

Then the pain comes: death, sickness, loss, broken relationship, anger, anxiety, confusion, loneliness.

And in the pain. A voice. His voice. Quietly speaking:

You

are

not

alone,

I AM

here.

So this is where He wants to meet with me.

This is where He wants to speak to me.

This is where He wants to tune my heart to His.

In the stillness of my pain.

I was so busy looking to meet with Him in all the places I was told He would be. All the places I knew He should be. All the places outside of my pain.

But He was waiting. To meet with me. Right where I was. Right in the midst of my life. Right in the middle of my pain.

But He was waiting. To meet with me. Right where I was. Right in the midst of my life. Right in the middle of my pain.

Commentary:

I am not saying God has not “shown up” in my life, or doesn’t show up in people’s lives, at things like church events and retreats. I’m saying I never understood what truly being with God (and more accurate what God truly being with me) was like until I finally experienced Him meeting me right where I was at. It has been my experience that many of us go looking for God “out there,” instead of experiencing Him being with us “here” – right where we are.

I spent so much of my young adult life “looking for God in all the wrong places” (if I can play off a popular music lyric). I’m not sure it was taught to me more than caught. But I had grown up believing God was out there somewhere. In the religious experiences. In the displays of worship. Even in the miracles or on the “mission field.” I would have never said such a thing theologically. But practically it’s how I lived.

And then something shifted. Years ago really. But this COVID season has solidified it in a way that is actually changing my life.

It’s the very truth of the incarnation: He is not out there. He is right here.

With me. With us. Right where we are.

In our homes. In our workplaces. In our schools.

In the store. In the hospital. In the counseling session.

In our playing sports. In our vacations. In our gathering with friends.

And once I found Him here with me, it didn’t change the pain. The pain was still there. But I didn’t feel alone in the pain anymore. And I didn’t run from the pain anymore. Because God met with me in the pain.

You are not alone. God is with you.

He wants to meet with you in the pain.

Posted by

Son. Brother. Husband. Father. Friend. Mentor. Spiritual Director. Consultant. Student. Communicator. Organizer.

Join to the Conversation...

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s