I was pulling into the hospital parking lot with lunch for two. I expected a parking space a quarter mile away, because that’s how it usually works. But then the heavens opened! There was a spot right next to the entrance, just like in the movies! Wow! I thought, God is with me! And then my thoughts went immediately to the person I was visiting in the hospital.
Is God with them?
It’s easy to associate good things with God. Good news, a big raise, an exciting new job, free tickets to a ball game. All of these things put smiles on our faces. They make us believe God is with us and He’s throwing presents at us. Now, while this line of thinking isn’t necessarily wrong, it will trip us up when we receive bad news. A layoff, a bad medical report, getting blamed for something we didn’t do, rejection, loneliness.
Wasn’t God with us during the good things in our life? Wasn’t I in His good hands, getting all the stuff I love? So what happened? Did I do something wrong? Did He forget about me?
There are a couple of reasons we may be going through some tough times and both allow God to be our comforter. One of the reasons is the consequences of our actions. We can always pick our choices, but we can’t pick our consequences. We may be going through a rough patch because of bad choices. But, the other kind of suffering comes from circumstances we couldn’t control.
Either way, this is who God is, He’s “the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.”-1 Corinthians 1:3,4.
God is always with the believer. He’s always the one who can comfort us in all our troubles.
It doesn’t matter if the suffering is external circumstances or our fault. He’s going to be the same God who is with us during the cloudy days as well as sunny weather. Jesus is the Son of God, who came down from heaven. The gospels share many stories of Jesus’ suffering. He knows what loneliness is, He knows what exhaustion does to the body, He’s familiar with excruciating pain, the emotional sting of rejection and being blamed for things He didn’t do. He is intimately familiar with the sufferings of humanity. God knows us.
Here’s the thing that bakes my noodle. God chose to know what awful feels like. He chose to be with us in our sufferings. He chose to be with the weak, both physically, emotionally and mentally. God wants to be with us when we need Him most. Why? Why would an all-powerful God choose to be with lesser beings who suffer?
There’s something else we may not understand about God. Paul wanted the church in Ephesus, “to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge..” This love God has for us won’t make sense in the least, yet His love is intensely real and this love He has for us won’t be leave us. Ever. And He comforts us so we can pass this comfort on to others. We get to pass His love and comfort forward, but that’s for next weeks post.
So is God with me in my amazing parking spot and with the patient in the hospital room?