In today’s post to his blog, Jack’s Winning Words, Pastor Freed revisits an age-old question – “Does anyone know where the love of God goes when the waves turn the minutes into hours?” (Gordon Lightfoot, from The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald song)
The Lightfoot song paid homage to the tragic sinking of the freighter Edmund Fitzgerald in Lake Superior during a storm, but the sentiment of God somehow abandoning us in our times of need is the focus of that line. The real question, in my mind, is who abandoned whom in those times? Does God in fact let us down and leave us hanging out to suffer; or, did we wander away from our faith in God during those times?
It is so much easier to put your trust in faith in God during good times or times when there is no emergency or threat. It feels good to thank God for our good fortune; for being there with us or maybe just protecting us from making a mistake. But what if that mistake happened or we suffered an injury or maybe a loss. Why do we immediately think that God must have abandoned us?
God never promised us a life without setbacks. Indeed, He even said that our lives will be full of event or tests of our faith in Him. He also promised to be there without and not to test us beyond our abilities –
“More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.” (Romans 5:3-5)
“No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.” (1 Corinthians 10:13)
“Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness.” (James 1:2-3)
But, the most important thing that he promises us is the one thing that should give us the greatest comfort during the trials that we may suffer – life after death. After all, most of us might imagine that the worst thing that could happen, the worst outcome of a hardship and the worst possible conclusion to the dilemma that we are in is that it kills us. If we steadfastly cling to our faith, even that outcome is not something to be feared.
It is not God who has abandoned us in times of great duress, but rather us who have wandered away from our faith in God. Therefore, one should not lament, “God why have you forsaken me?”, but rather pray, “God forgive me for my lapse of faith and return to me the trust in you during this difficult time.”
The good news for those who temporarily wander away from their faith during a time of hardship is that God is patient and relentless in His love for us – “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you” (Hebrews 13:5)
So, who abandoned whom? In answer to Gordon Lightfoot’s question in his song – God’s love didn’t go anywhere. God’s hand is always out to provide us the help that we need. You have but to turn and reach back to Him to receive His grace and help.
Have a great day in God’s hands!