Where Was God?

They watched Him heal the sick, raise the dead, and command the elements. They were the few, the chosen, blessed to walk with the Messiah and usher in God’s reign. But living with Jesus gave them something much more valuable than any physical miracle. Jesus was the living, breathing manifestation of God’s love in everything He did. Through Him, they saw the heart of God towards humanity. He was the Messiah that they’d been waiting for, who would deliver them from the oppression of the Romans. Now, they watch as he is condemned, tortured, and murdered. I’m sure they echoed the words of humanity since the start of post-Eden life, “Where was God?”

He was despised and rejected by men, A Man of sorrows and pain and acquainted with grief; And like One from whom men hide their faces He was despised, and we did not appreciate His worth or esteem Him. But [in fact] He has borne our griefs, And He has carried our sorrows and pains; Yet we [ignorantly] assumed that He was stricken, Struck down by God and degraded and humiliated [by Him].
Isaiah 53:3-4

Dark Silence

Jesus wanted to prepare His disciples and told them what would happen beforehand. Even though they were told in advance, they were surprised and disheartened. Why? Likely because it’s not what they expected. After the crucifixion came heavenly radio silence. It was in an eerie quietness while they waited. They held on to shreds of hope, not knowing if those who killed Jesus would soon be hunting them, too. It’s within the mystery of the silence where our minds push the boundaries of the worst despite the assurance that things will work out. Sometimes, it feels like God is still in that grave as our prayers seem to hit the ceiling and return to us unanswered, but He didn’t forget them and doesn’t forget us.

21 From that time on Jesus began to explain to his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things at the hands of the elders, the chief priests and the teachers of the law, and that he must be killed and on the third day be raised to life.
Matthew 16:23-24

The Plan All Along

It was the plan all along for Jesus to be brutally tortured, die, and then rise again. When Jesus warned them, many of their disciples argued with Jesus, saying they would never fall away. However, they were perplexed and afraid when it happened. When the tables turned, the hostile crowds were amassed, and they saw their Messiah suffer and die; they were confused, crushed, and disheartened. Sometimes, we can live our lives with expectations that God will do something that looks the way we imagine, and when it doesn’t happen that way, we lose heart and have trouble trusting His promises. Deliverance from Rome was shortsighted. Jesus had to die for our freedom, forgiveness, and new life that would reach down the ages and forward to eternity. It was for a kingdom eternal, unaffected by time and human constraints.

31 Then Jesus said to them, “You will all fall away because of me this night. For it is written, ‘I will strike the shepherd, and the sheep of the flock will be scattered.’ 32 But after I am raised up, I will go before you to Galilee.” 33 Peter answered him, “Though they all fall away because of you, I will never fall away.”
Matthew 26:31-33

Are Bad Things in God’s Plan for Us?

God planned bad things for Jesus, but it was for the best reason. He doesn’t plan bad things to happen to us; He sent Jesus to deliver us from evil. We live in a world that is soaked in the sin of humankind. There is death and suffering here, but God, that was the fruit of human fault, not God’s plans. Jesus came to set us free from sin and death so we can spend eternity with Him without tears, sin, or suffering. Like the disciples, we can still doubt and sit in terrified, tortured silence instead of holding on to the promises. God knows how hard it is. From the cross, Jesus uttered those ageless words, “My God, why have you forsaken me?” He knows our struggles and weaknesses and has given us the Holy Spirit to help us through.

Yet it was the Lord’s will to crush him and cause him to suffer, and though the Lord makes[a] his life an offering for sin, he will see his offspring and prolong his days, and the will of the Lord will prosper in his hand.After he has suffered, he will see the light of life[d] and be satisfied[e];
by his knowledge[f] my righteous servant will justify many, and he will bear their iniquities.Isaiah 53:10-11
But I tell you the truth, it is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the [a]Helper (Comforter, Advocate, Intercessor—Counselor, Strengthener, Standby) will not come to you; but if I go, I will send Him (the Holy Spirit) to you [to be in close fellowship with you].
John 16:7

We Have a Promise and a Hope

When the darkness comes, we can draw from the strength and hope of the Holy Spirit to hold on to God’s promises. God’s answers don’t always follow the path our human minds can take. He promised us that we would have trouble in this world. Let’s not be surprised by trials. However, He also told us hope and encouragement, for He has overcome the world. Jesus gave the disciples promises to hold in their darkest times, that He would rise, and He did. Let’s remember this when the darkness comes, and we doubt. God did it for the disciples; He’s done it for us in times past, and He will be faithful to do it again.

33 I have told you these things, so that in Me you may have [perfect] peace. In the world you have tribulation and distress and suffering, but be courageous [be confident, be undaunted, be filled with joy]; I have overcome the world.” [My conquest is accomplished, My victory abiding.]
John 16:33
Let's Connect