Where is God?

“Breath of Life” by J. Kirk Richards

CW: rape, stillbirth

 

Three stories:

1. A woman is promised a long life in her patriarchal blessing.  She dies young from an incurable disease.

2. A woman feels that she heard the voice of God telling her to go on a mission, and subsequent promptings in prayer and in the temple confirm this decision.  On the first day in her mission, she is violently raped by an intruder and immediately returns home.

3. A woman is told in a dream or vision that she will have a daughter whose name is revealed to her, and that this daughter will go on to do great things.  She discovers she’s unexpectedly pregnant, but later delivers a stillborn daughter.

Where is God in this?  Why would God direct people in these ways when these are the events that follow?

Where is God when prayers go unanswered, and pleadings unheard?

Where is God when blessings go unfulfilled and promises are un-kept?

Where is God when we do what is right, and the consequences that follow are cruel and degrading rather than affirming and uplifting?

Where is God when we walk, sure of our Divine companionship, and yet we’re left alone?

Where is God when we walk, sure of being abandoned, yet we suddenly feel that we’re being guided?

Where is God when children die, and when children are born?

Where is God when the arms of Heaven stretch down to reach us, blessing and comforting us in times of distress?

Where is God when we sing and dance, full of love and joy?

Where is God when the beauty is so astounding that words can’t describe it, and our emotions are overwhelmed by the grandeur?

I believe that God is always there, amid all of these things and in all of life’s contradictions.

But how (or why) God is always there, I don’t understand.

Liz

Liz is a reader, writer, wife, mother, gardener, social worker, story collector, cookie-maker, and hug-giver.

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5 Responses

  1. Jenny says:

    This post would have been a huge comfort to me when I was in college and struggling with my own faith in God and severe depression over a lot of these questions. I had similar experiences that made me question answers that I thought I had received. Like getting a “yes” to marry someone who was simultaneously getting a “no.” Sometimes it’s nice just to see the questions of our hearts in writing, without Sunday School answers to mask the pain.

  2. EmilyCC says:

    Amen.

    This is powerful, Liz. Thank you for sharing it. I think sometimes (most of the time?) there is no good answer. When I worked as a hospital chaplain, I learned the skill, though I’m far, far from mastering it, of sitting with someone in silence with the difficult questions.

    I’m surprised how comforting I’ve found it when I say, “But, why?!” And, a friend says, “I don’t know, but I’ll sit with you in this unknown space.”

  3. Joni says:

    Many years ago, when we were struggling through particularly difficult times in our family, I approached God in the Celestial Room of the temple. I said to him: “I’m not asking You to fix all these problems right now. I just need to know if You even love me.”

    God’s response: total silence.

    I’ve never asked Him since. It was a soul-crushing experience, and not one I’m in a hurry to repeat.

    • Liz says:

      I’m so sorry, Joni. I’ve had a similar experience. I don’t know how to reconcile it with other experiences where I feel like I’ve felt God’s love so profoundly. Hugs to you.

    • Jake says:

      Joni you have to ask again! You have to have faith! You have to keep asking! Please don’t give up. Reflect on your life. Your blessings. Find God’s love in your life! Search it out actively and with determination because I know it’s there because I know He loves each of us tremendously. Read D&C 9:7-8. Ponder it. Pray about it. I’m sure your experience was awful when you felt he wasn’t there. But keep trying because he IS there!

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