The first time in my Christian life I found myself in a difficult season, I thought I had made a big mistake. Like many young believers, I had assumed that if I was following God’s direction, the path God would lead me on would be smooth and straight. I certainly didn’t think that if I was truly following Him, there would be times when it felt His presence and voice were a million miles away.
To be honest, I began to wrestle with some big questions. Where had I gone wrong? Why would God pull His presence away from me? I even wondered what sin I might have committed that had gotten me off the path and onto this terrible detour. At one point, I found myself crying out, “God, where are You?!”
Then, I started to find answers in the oldest book in the Bible.
Whatever confusion I was going through, it was nothing compared to what Job must have faced.
I can only imagine the questions He struggled with.
It’s no secret Job went through a pretty tough time. Through a series of relentlessly tragic events, he lost his family, his wealth, his health, and more. I can’t even imagine what he was going through. At one point, his friends advised him to curse God and die—not exactly sound counsel. It was in this place of hopelessness, feeling completely abandoned by God, that he lamented:
“Look, I go forward, but He is not there,
And backward, but I cannot perceive Him;
When He works on the left hand, I cannot behold Him;
When He turns to the right hand, I cannot see Him.” (Job 23:8–9, NKJV)
When Job was in the thick of the struggle, He couldn’t see God no matter which direction he looked. I’m sure he felt like God had hung him out to dry. Thankfully, those words do not mark the end of his story. In chapter 42, at the close of the book, he says the following to God:
“Surely I spoke of things I did not understand,
things too wonderful for me to know.
“You said, ‘Listen now, and I will speak;
I will question you,
and you shall answer me.’
My ears had heard of you
but now my eyes have seen you.” (Job 42:3–6, NKJV)
You see, just like Job, it’s often when we look back on the hard times we’ve walked through that we begin to see God’s hand in all of it. That’s certainly been the case for me. The deepest revelations I’ve received from God have come out of my most difficult seasons. We may meet God on a mountaintop, but we often get to know Him in the valleys.
So if you find yourself wondering where God is in your life, don’t get discouraged. Keep pressing into Him and keep pressing on. He has not abandoned you. Nothing of the sort. In fact, you may just look back and see your present hardship as the time you got to know God in a completely new way. Finding that long-term perspective will help you find true hope as you walk through hard times.
If you got something out of this post, I encourage you to grab a copy of my newest book, God, Where Are You?! where I dive much deeper into how to handle season of waiting. I really believe it will help you find answers to tough questions and will be a source of strength and encouragement for you as you seek to navigate tough times well!