A common emotion or feeling you experience when you go through tragedy as a believer is abandonment. You feel abandoned because you wonder where was God when you had to go through the painful ordeal. Job felt abandoned by God after his children died and he lost everything he owned (Job 23-24). I will even go out on a limb to say Naomi probably felt abandoned by God when she lost her husband and sons. Why else would she tell people to call her “Mara” or bitter (Ruth 1:20)? Even Jesus, the Son of God, felt abandoned by God when He cried out on the cross, “My God! My God! Why have you forsaken me” (Matthew 27:46)?
Even in an ungodly world, when disaster strikes such as the massive earthquake in Nepal or the Tsunami that occurred a few years ago, the first thing the newspapers ask is, “Where was God?” or “Where is God in all of this?” I remember when the earthquake struck Haiti and hundreds of thousands of people lost their lives. Many wondered why God would allow such a horrible tragedy. Some even surmised that it was God’s divine judgment on the people.
When my husband died when I was pregnant with our second child, I, too, felt abandoned by God even though God was speaking to me throughout the entire ordeal. I felt forsaken and tricked. I also felt like God was punishing me. I couldn’t understand why God would allow me, His child, to go through such a painful and devastating ordeal, especially when He knew all I wanted to do with my life was serve Him.
However, as I continue to reflect, seek and inquire of God, I realize that God didn’t abandon me. In fact, He’s been closer to me than ever before. It was me who stepped away for a season. Our relationship took a hit. I prayed and talked to God, but the trust I had for Him had taken a blow. I was wounded. I went into self-protection mode.
So, as I talked to my mom about hearing from God and how my relationship with God took a hit when Gabe died, I was shocked when the Lord started to minister to me right in that moment.
Prophetic word on the highway
While I was driving and talking to my mom as we made our way back to my house from the beach this Memorial Day weekend, the Lord showed me a mac truck in the distance. The truck was in my lane, but it was several yards away. From my standpoint on the road, it looked like there was a cross on the back of the truck. I followed the truck from a great distance for several minutes. Eventually, I caught up to the truck and the image on the back of the truck became clearer. There were words written horizontally on the truck that crossed over some vertical chains. From a distance, it looked like a cross.
This is what the Lord ministered to me. He said, “You saw the cross in the distance on the highway, and you were following it. You were a great distance from it, but you kept following it. Just like you followed the truck on the highway with the cross on it, I want you to keep following me. As you get closer to me and your appointed destination, things will become clearer. You will see more clearly and you will understand why certain things needed to happen. Just keep following me.”
As the old folks say in church, Jesus said to me, “I will understand it better by and by.” Needless to say, this ministered to me greatly because the resounding question in my head since my husband’s death has been, “Why?” I don’t have all of the answers, but every day I get more understanding.
Personal care and attention
Another thing the Lord showed me is we are not forsaken when we go through the hardest situations in our lives. He is right there administering personal care. In church, we frequently read the scriptures in Luke 4:16-21 when Jesus recites from Isaiah 61. At the end of His reading, He tells the people that today the scripture has been fulfilled. He meant that the scripture was fulfilled in Him. If you read Isaiah 61 in its totality, you see that there are many active verbs. The Spirit of God is upon to Jesus to appoint, preach, proclaim, bind, comfort and give. Some verses that stand out to me is “He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,” “To comfort all that mourn,” and “To give them beauty (garland) for ashes.”
This is good news for us as believers! Even better news is God doesn’t send someone else to do these things. He, Himself, comes to personally attend to our wounds. He comes to encourage and to heal us. Picture Jesus as the Great Physician mending and binding up your broken heart and spirit. I don’t know about you, but that gets me excited, and it makes me feel everything but forsaken. All we have to do to receive His personal care and attention is to invite Him in. This is why in Matthew 5 it says, “Blessed are they who mourn for they shall be comforted” because Jesus, Himself, comes to wrap His arms around you and personally attend to our needs. That is good news today.
If you are going through a personal tragedy, do not be discouraged. Keep following Jesus and keep inviting Him into your life. I know you may feel like giving God the silent treatment after disaster strikes, but He is ready and willing to give you understanding, encouragement and the care you need to bring you safely through it.