"Where is God?"
It's a question you have likely asked at some point in your life, whether because of war, politics, hate rhetoric, the death of a beloved, illness, or trauma. There are plenty of reasons to ask the question "Where is God?," especially when it seems like God - at least an all-good, all-powerful, all-knowing God - is nowhere to be found.
There have been times in my own life when I have asked this same question and felt like the answer was "nowhere," times when I felt isolated and utterly alone, times I still think back on that make my eyes begin to swell with tears. I'm sure I'm not the only one who has felt like this.
Actually, I believe two people in particular have experienced that very same feeling. "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?" Jesus says (Mark 15:34).
In the Psalms, King David cries out this same plea, saying, "Why are you so far from saving me, from the words of my groaning? O my God, I cry by day, but you do not answer, and by night, but I find no rest" (Psalm 22).
Those of us feeling that God is nowhere to be found are not alone.
I think the hope of Christian faith is not that life will be void of the kind of pain that is so familiar to the human experience, but rather that we have a God who has felt it too. We have a God who understands and seeks us in that very pain - and not only that, but a God who shows us the hope of life after despair as Jesus is resurrected from the dead three days after crying out in despair.
Maybe that gives you comfort as it does me. Either way, I think the pursuit of the question "Where is God?" is a worthy one.
It might seem daunting and scary to pursue such a question not knowing what we might find. Yet maybe pursuing the question helps us to discover if our preconceived notions about who God is fit our experience of God. Maybe we do not have to believe in the God who has been defined for us; maybe our understanding of God can evolve. Maybe in times of great anguish we can discover God in our midst.
If you are also wondering about where God is or have curiosities about the intersection between faith and life, you are welcome to join me at The Grind Roasters in Bluffton on the first and third Saturday of each month at 10 a.m. Our next two topics are Anxiety and Assurance (Feb. 15) and Addiction and Grace (March 7)
I hope to see you there.
Maybe through these conversations we can discover God in the messiness of life, a God who cries with us in times of despair, a God who is with us.
Stephanie Dion is an associate pastor at Lowcountry Presbyterian Church in Bluffton. LowcountryPres.org