Where is God in my mess?

We live by faith, not by sight. (2 Corinthians 5:7)

Life is hard, and we can not always figure out what God is up to, or what good He could possibly bring through the difficult situations in which we often find ourselves. One of the surest anchors for our soul when we feel unmoored is to look to the cross. From an earthly perspective, God never seemed more absent or unloving then He did on that day, as Jesus, His innocent Son, hung on that cross. The disciples were having the ground pulled out from under them as they watched the one to whom they had dedicated their life for the past three years dying on the cross, while God did nothing about it. They must have wondered what kind of Father would let His innocent Son die an unjust death like that without rising to His defense? God never seemed more absent or unloving than He did on that day.

But now, with the benefit of hindsight, we know that God was never more present or loving than He was on that day. Despite our inability to understand what He was up to from a human perspective, God was very much present that day, as it was God the Son who hung there on that cross. And He was very much loving on that day, as Jesus took upon Himself the punishment that we deserved for our sin, so that all who trust in Him could be forgiven and restored to a right relationship with God. That reality is a solid rock upon which we can stand, an anchor for our soul in the midst of a seemingly chaotic world.

I have no doubt that for many of you, God may seem absent or unloving. You may have no clue what He is up to, or how He could bring any good out of the difficult situation in which you find yourself. Can I encourage you to look to the cross today? Would you remember how, when all hope was seemingly lost, God broke through and brought life out of death by raising Jesus from the dead? Can you stand upon the promises of God, trusting that “we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose” and that “He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all-- how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things” (Romans 8:28,32)?

Paul tells us in 2 Corinthians 5:7 that “we live by faith, not by sight.” It would certainly have taken great faith for the disciples to look at Jesus hanging on the cross and believe that the tragedy that was happening was actually a good thing. And I know that it takes great faith for many of you to look at your circumstances and believe that God is at work, that He has not abandoned you either. If you walk by sight, you will end up in despair. But if you walk by faith, He will strengthen you for resolve. I pray that these words from Hebrews would encourage and strengthen you today:

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.
(Hebrews 12:1-2)

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