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FIRST-PERSON: Are you there, God?

EULESS, Texas (BP)–Many times, we are led to believe that God is good to us because we are good. But here is a truth we must embrace: God is good to us because God is good.

In spite of this truth that we see proclaimed clearly in the Scriptures, all of us probably have experienced or witnessed life-challenges that seem to contradict the truth, “GOD IS GOOD.” All of us have seen or experienced things that just don’t add up. As matter of fact, if we added up all of the adversity we experience in life, we might feel like sometimes, God had abandoned us. And in these moments, we wonder, “Are you there, God?”

Some of us might be saying, “I’m too spiritual to admit that! We all know that God doesn’t abandon us!” Well, maybe so, but have you ever heard of Mother Teresa? She is the late Roman Catholic nun whose aid to the poor and needy of Calcutta, India, served as the picture of faithfulness and devotion to God. But according to recently released letters that she wrote, there were times when even Mother Teresa felt abandoned by God. It’s true!

Listen to some of her statements: “I am told God lives in me — and yet the reality of darkness and coldness and emptiness is so great that nothing touches my soul,” she declares in one of the letters. In another letter, Mother Teresa states, “In my soul, I can’t tell you how dark it is, how painful, how terrible, I feel like refusing God.”

That’s Mother Teresa! If she has experienced times where she questioned the closeness of God, surely we do too. How do we handle it when we feel we have done the right things but things didn’t turn out right? We must begin to live out the truth of God’s Word and take comfort, as Mother Teresa did, in God’s supernatural care for us.

When we feel like God has abandoned us and we question the closeness of God, remember that God IS faithful. In the midst of rough times in life, remember that God has not abandoned you and me. In fact, the very same Jesus who saves, forgives and provides peace in life promises us: “I will never leave you or forsake you” (Hebrews 13:5). It’s easy to think that God leaves us in the tough times in life. But in reality, God is close and faithful to us in the tough times. I have a friend who used to say, “God is closer than our very breath.” His words ring true and encourage us: When we wonder if God is there, remember that He IS faithful.

Missionary statesman Hudson Taylor completely trusted God’s faithfulness. In his journal he wrote: “Our heavenly Father is a very experienced One. He knows very well that His children wake up with a good appetite every morning. … He sustained 3 million Israelites in the wilderness for 40 years. We do not expect He will send 3 million missionaries to China; but if He did, He would have ample means to sustain them all. … Depend on it, God’s work done in God’s way will never lack God’s supply.” What powerful words. The Lord truly is experienced in handling our needs.

God isn’t faithful to us because we are faithful to Him. He is faithful to us because that is His very nature! We are faithful to Him in response to His faithfulness to us. And when we are unfaithful, He remains faithful because that is who He is! One of the most amazing passages of encouragement about the faithfulness of God is 2 Timothy 2:11-13, “This is a faithful saying: For if we died with Him, We shall also live with Him. If we endure, we shall also reign with Him. If we deny Him, He also will deny us. If we are faithless, He remains faithful; He cannot deny Himself.”

When we follow God and circumstances are bad, and indeed they are for some of us, don’t despair. Even when we wonder, “Are you there God?”, take comfort in the truth that He will never leave us. Remember God is faithful at all times and in all circumstances, even in the tough ones.
Claude Thomas is pastor of First Baptist Church in Euless, Texas. For more of his LifePoints resources, visit www.discoverfirst.org.

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  • Claude Thomas