Eyes downcast and filled with barely suppressed tears, shoulders stooped as if carrying the weight of the world upon them, mind filled with turmoil and fear. Where are you, God? Do you even care? I am beyond tempted to fear evil – way beyond. I am no longer walking through the valley of the shadow; I am part of the darkness – no way to separate from it, as I no longer know where I stop and where it begins. I am afraid, very afraid. God, where are you?
When we come to the end of our physical resources, when we have exhausted every avenue in search of hope and relief, reached the end of our abilities to withstand, God is there. When you can no longer see the faintest glimmer of hope, that’s where He is. Why must we reach the bottom of ourselves where all else has failed, all our paltry attempts to cure, to remedy, before we turn to Him? The problem lies within us, not with God. When we turn to Him, He is there.
So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. Isaiah 41:10
If we never were afraid, how could we trust Him? If we never felt the rain, how could we love the sun? Even in our pain and heartache, He is with us. If I never need God, would I ever even find Him? It is true that some don’t believe in Him at all, but thousands of others do, they just never seek Him, the mentality being, I don’t need God; I have it all together. But about when our efforts fail and there is no tangible solution? When I have done all I know to do and have nowhere else to turn?
The valley produces one of two things, with regards to God, greater reliance on God or a complete falling away. The falling away comes from the misconception that God is to blame for our troubles. I readily admit that I don’t understand why God allows what He does, but I believe He has a reason and that He is a good God.
Ten years ago I was diagnosed with a chronic, incurable illness which has progressed to the point of being agony to me every day, with so few good days, I no longer anticipate them. I wake up in the morning with the realistic expectation of a struggle. There have been many doctors’ visits and many meds. I have spent countless hours at the computer researching, reading, considering every treatment that anyone has ever tried, even if it has failed for them. Most, for me, have failed as well.
So every day will be an uphill battle against chronic pain and unrelenting fatigue. What shall I do? Where shall I go? For me, God is my only hope. No matter how much money I spend, no matter how much research I do, I will not find a cure, because there is none. I do not anticipate a treatment that will bring significant relief that I have not tried already. God is my rock. Yes, it is true that He can heal me completely, but even though I have asked many times, He chooses not to. But I trust Him. If He does not heal me, He has His reasons.
All I know is that many days, lest I cling tightly to Him, I will not make it up that hill. I know when I reach for Him, He is there. I know He loves me more than anyone ever has or ever will. That is our hope. We sometimes cannot understand His ways, but have no other safe harbor, no other on whom we may lean, secure in the knowledge that no matter the trial, we will be upheld.
If you say, “The Lord is my refuge,”
and you make the Most High your dwelling,
no harm will overtake you,
no disaster will come near your tent.
For he will command his angels concerning you
to guard you in all your ways;
they will lift you up in their hands,
so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.