By Morgan Stoecklein
There’s been a point in your life, where you’ve wondered, “Where is God?” I know it. Whether through one of life’s greatest griefs or after circling downtown three times with no open parking spot in sight – you’ve wondered: Where is God?
You’ve asked yourself or the universe or a dear friend or a family member, “Why?” Why is there evil in the world? Why is there suffering, death, inequality, injustice? Why would I follow a God who allows hate and unfairness, who seemingly forgets about me and my desires? You’ve wondered, and so have I.
Some of us hope and say that we’ll believe in God when he writes his name in the sky, when he shows us a sign or finally comes through for us. Maybe when children aren’t dying of cancer and natural disasters are a thing of the past, maybe then God will be real. When my life looks this certain way or God gives me this, well then God can be my God.
But I’d bet my bottom dollar that if you walked outside right now and looked up to the sky to see “I am God” spelled out in contrails and clouds you’d look right back down at your phone to google how it’s all possible.
That’s the thing, God’s ways are impossible. He’s God, after all! Who would want to follow a God who can’t do the impossible? Who would want to follow a God who can’t period? And who would want to follow a God who can be fully understood?
I have a problem, I must confess, that I tend to think I’m right. That party would have been so much better if _____. There’s only one way to make the bed, or load the dishwasher. I can’t seem to be swayed – ask my husband, it’s my way or the highway.
I remember a time in my life reflecting on my friends who claimed to know God, who claimed they were in a relationship with him. To me, it sounded naïve, fluffy. I didn’t need God. I didn’t need to know Him, I didn’t need to read the Bible because it was obviously outdated and irrelevant. What made its writers so special anyway? If God had something to say to me, He would say it. He is God after all.
What I didn’t know, was that he already said what he needed to say to me.
God’s written his name in the sky many times, you just haven’t seen it. I hadn’t seen it either. And find reassurance, reader, that God himself knows our hearts and minds and knows that its difficult. Its difficult for us to see beyond what’s right in front of us, the tangible, and wonder and doubt and debate with ourselves the “whys” and “hows” of life, that might lead us to God.
Its Easter time and so I’m reminded of a time God wrote his name in the sky. He sent his one and only son. Can you imagine? There’s a parable that paints this picture a bit. It goes like this:
33 “Listen to another parable: There was a landowner who planted a vineyard. He put a wall around it, dug a winepress in it and built a watchtower. Then he rented the vineyard to some farmers and moved to another place. 34 When the harvest time approached, he sent his servants to the tenants to collect his fruit.
35 “The tenants seized his servants; they beat one, killed another, and stoned a third. 36 Then he sent other servants to them, more than the first time, and the tenants treated them the same way. 37 Last of all, he sent his son to them. ‘They will respect my son,’ he said.
38 “But when the tenants saw the son, they said to each other, ‘This is the heir. Come, let’s kill him and take his inheritance.’ 39 So they took him and threw him out of the vineyard and killed him.
I recently read that and became upset. Not at the murderous men, like you’d expect, but at the father. “What an idiot!” I thought. “He knew they’d kill his son. How could he not know, yet he sent him anyway?” I felt bad for the son. I felt angry at the father.
Yet God, did this very thing. He sent his son and in doing so he wrote his name in the sky. Some thought he was crazy, others stumbled over his humble beginnings, a few of the religious elites felt threatened by Jesus and his words, and all of those people refused to believe he was God.
God sent Jesus, to say in the most humble and gracious way “I am God.”
He can cure cancer, gift new life to helpless parents, paint stunning sunsets, and hold earth in the perfect place in the universe so that humans don’t burn up or freeze to death.
He’s working, He’s proving his God-ness every hour, of every day. Every breath of every person. Its easy to forget though. Easy to discredit.
I know you’ve wondered where God is, so, my question for you is, Where is He?
May I make a suggestion? Start with Jesus.
God knows its hard for us to see Him and his workings, that’s why he sent Jesus. Knowing some would reject him, God sent his son anyway. Jesus is a gift to the sceptic.
Look to Jesus, join a friend in discovering what Jesus said about himself. Let your perception of Jesus be overridden by the reality of Jesus, then decide from there what you think about God.
One place to start is to simply ask a friend to read a book of the Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke, or John) with you or feel free and reach out to our team (VU Faith & Community) and we can partner you with a fellow reader. If you want to get started now, below is a guide through the Book of Mark with questions for discussion or contemplation. Wherever you are today, I pray you remember, God is there with you.