Where is God?
October 20, 2020
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A few times in my life, I have stopped by the doctor’s office without an appointment. You might ask, “Why would you do that?” Well, perhaps the doctor was a friend of mine. Maybe it was a situation when I was just in the area, or it may have been because I needed to see a doctor. Whatever the reason, each time, I would walk into that doctor’s office without an appointment and ask three questions: 1. Is the doctor in? (Because if he’s not there, I might as well leave.) 2. Is he available? (Because he might be in the office, but he might too busy to see me.) 3. May I see him? (Because he might actually be available, but there’s a chance he just doesn’t want to see me.) We ask these questions of doctors, pastors, lawyers, and counselors. But what about God? Have you ever asked God these same questions? Is God in? Is God available? Will God see me? In the tumultuous times we’re experiencing right now, I would venture to say that many people are asking these questions.
The year 2020 is unlike anything we have ever seen before. COVID-19 has brought sickness and fear. Our nation’s economy has taken a huge hit, with many businesses forced to close. Recently I saw a statistic that 50 percent of all households in Los Angeles are struggling financially. Then we had the tragic killing of George Floyd. We’ve had protests and riots; people who are angry, outraged, and hurting. What’s more, our country is being divided by unscrupulous politicians and media empires. It seems as though we demonize anyone with a differing opinion. Churches have been told that they cannot meet indoors or sing praises to God. On top of all that, we have fires raging all over the state of California and Oregon. It is common knowledge that as a result of all these things, suicide and mental illnesses have skyrocketed. And the question we ask is not, “Is the doctor?” The big question is, “Is God in?” And if He is in, is God available? And if He’s available, will God see me? Will He hear me? Will He be with me? Does He care? Will He comfort me? Will He rescue me?
We find the answer to these crucial questions in Psalm 77. The Psalms are always a blessing to read when you’re discouraged, and Psalm 77, specifically, is a goldmine of good news. In the first half the psalmist is lamenting and complaining. It is clear that he is in a bad place. He writes,
“I cried out to God for help; I cried out to God to hear me. When I was in distress, I sought the Lord; at night I stretched out untiring hands, and I would not be comforted. I remembered you, God, and I groaned; I meditated, and my spirit grew faint” (v. 1-3).
He wonders why God has seemingly rejected him and whether God’s “unfailing love [has] vanished forever.” He asks if God has forgotten to be merciful and compassionate. And He almost gives up. But suddenly, he has a shift in his thinking.
He says in verses 10 through 13,
“Then I thought, ‘To this I will appeal: the years when the Most High stretched out his right hand. I will remember the deeds of the Lord; yes, I will remember your miracles of long ago. I will consider all your works and meditate on all your mighty deeds.’ Your ways, God, are holy. What god is as great as our God?”
We, too, must have a shift in our thinking. When we look behind us, around us, and in front of us with hopeful and faithful eyes, we begin to see that God is in! He’s in history—in our past and all the times He has been faithful (Psalm 77:14). He has never ever forsaken you. God is in the story of redemption (v. 15), sending His Son Jesus Christ to die for our sins that we may have eternal life. He’s in creation—from the tiniest flower to the majestic redwood trees, the countless stars in the night sky, the fearsome ocean, the miracle of a baby (v. 16-19). God is in the storm (v. 18) and promises to be there with you in times of trouble. And He’s in the Church…He is the Great Shepherd of His flock (v. 20). With all its imperfections, God has chosen His people, the Church of Jesus Christ as His vessel for taking the life-changing, heart-transforming Gospel to the four corners of the world.
Psalm 77 reminds us that God performs miracles. He leads us through the storms of life and upon a sure and dry path through the waters—just as He did for the Israelites. Even though you can’t always see His footprints, as the psalmist says in verse 19, He is there! God sees you, hears you, knows you, and loves you. Call on Him during these uncertain times because God is always in!
Pastor Dudley Rutherford is the author of Compelled: The Irresistible Call to Share Your Faith (available everywhere books are sold online) and the senior pastor of Shepherd Church, which has three campuses in the Greater Los Angeles area. You can watch services online or connect with Dudley at www.LiftUpJesus.com and on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.