Where is God when life hurts?

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by Lawrence Shiroma, Major –

“Even if my father and mother abandon me, the Lord will hold me close” (Psalm 27:10).

The photo in the Anchorage Daily News told it all. Shane Becker, a 35-year-old paratrooper, was about to leave his family in Alaska and be deployed to Iraq. The picture shows the soldier with his seven-year old daughter Cierra, decked out in military camouflage uniform just like her dad’s. The child is proudly standing, holding her father’s rifle in front of her, while he is kneeling; both arms wrapped closely around her, supporting the weight of the M-16.

Some months later, as the autumn leaves were falling, Cierra looked out the window of her Anchorage home and saw men in uniform get out from the car, and solemnly walk up the path to her door. A look of fear came into her eyes as Cierra stared at the men. Then slowly her eyes filled and her mouth opened. “Not my daddy! Not my daddy!” She screamed. But it was her daddy. Staff Sgt. Becker was killed in a firefight south of Baghdad.

Where is God when life hurts? Where is God when a child is injured or forsaken? Scripture promises us that he is right there holding the child. “Even if my father and mother abandon me, the Lord will hold me close.” (Psalm 27:10)

The Gospel of John tells us that Jesus spent his last night this side of Calvary with his disciples. In a few hours he would be arrested, whipped, tortured, made a public spectacle and then nailed to the cross. Even though he would soon have to undergo extreme physical torture and deprivation, his thoughts were upon the disciples. Instead of bemoaning his situation and become anxious about the pain and affliction he would soon be called upon to suffer, Jesus spoke these words to all of us who are anxious about the future: “There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends” (John 15:13).

The men and women of our Armed Forces willingly lay down their lives to protect family and country. Sgt. Shane Becker laid down his life in the line of duty for his daughter. Jesus voluntarily laid down his life for us and became the Lamb of God.

“I will not abandon you as orphans” (John 14:18). Christ will never leave us nor forsake us.

When a little girl named Hadassah was around Cierra’s age, both her mom and dad were killed leaving her alone in the world. But the Lord brought someone into the child’s life who raised her as his own daughter until one day Hadassah became Esther, the Queen of Persia. Perhaps you may be feeling alone in the world, but “Who knows if perhaps you were raised for such a time as this?” (Esther 4:14).

“Do not let your hearts be troubled” (John 14:1). Even in the midst of pain and suffering and the darkness that was quickly descending upon him, Jesus still gave encouragement to his disciples. Darkness may surround you now; perhaps you are asking, “Where is God when life hurts?” He is right here with you. In your time of pain and anxiety, draw close to the Lord for, “He that dwelleth in the secret place of the Most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty” (Psalm 90:1).

Because Jesus rose again from death on that first Easter, we too have the promise of eternal life in Christ.

Soar we now where Christ has led,
Following our exalted head;
Made like him, like him we rise,
Ours the cross, the grave, the skies.
(Charles Wesley)

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