If you know me at all, you know I like a good cup of coffee in the mornings. The coffee pot is brewing within minutes, after I arise for the day. Coffee just has an anointing on it! Can I get an AMEN! Panera Bread is a very anointed place. When people give me Panera cards, I am happy, happy, happy! If you were to ask me how I take my coffee, I’d answer, “Seriously, very seriously.”
We live in interesting and challenging times. As I listen to so many people, I hear story after story of situations that are incredibly difficult. Sometimes I wish I could have a cup of coffee with those who write me notes, or tell me their stories. Since I can’t do that, let’s have a cup of coffee right here.
To those in pain, what would I say over a cup of coffee? I would say, “God is close even when you are hurting.”
God is not a tyrant sitting on His throne enjoying the pain you go through. He is not in heaven, trying to chart out when He can throw the next painful event your way. God has actually promised to bring you through the pain.
“I am with you always, even to the very end of the age.” (Matthew 28:20). God is with you when you’re hurting. He says, “When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you!” (Isaiah 43:2).
I know sometimes it seems God is far away, but He is not.
“God, did You see that doctor’s report? Don’t You care? Do You see what a mess my marriage is in? Don’t You care? Do you see how little money we have in the bank? Don’t You care? Do you see my infertility? Don’t You care? Do You see the pain I have after the loss of my loved one? Don’t You care? Do You see the division in my family? Don’t You care? Do you see the abuse that I suffered? Don’t you care?
I simply say, “God cares.”
When our son Bryan died, it was probably the darkest period in my life. Some things have no explanation, and for me, this is one of them. Here we are, almost five years later, and we still miss him so much. Here we are, almost five years later, and I can say that God has been faithful to His Word, and He has been with us. He has been close. He has collected our tears. He has renewed our joy.
Sometimes when we are in difficult life situations, it is hard to see clearly, and it is hard to sense God. Job, who was a man of God, went through unfathomable pain, facing sickness and losing everything he had, including his children. Here is what Job said during his difficult times: “If I go to the east, God is not there; if I go to the west, I do not see Him. When He is at work in the north, I catch no sight of Him; when He turns to the south, I cannot see Him.” (Job 23:8-9)
It wasn’t until much later that Job could testify that God was watching over him, and that God renewed his life. Job could testify later, that no matter what he felt, God existed, and God deeply loved him.
As I sat today, with tears and a heavy heart, thinking of all that people are going through, God reminded me of all He has brought me through: childhood abuse, poverty, miscarriage, a child with cancer, hurt from Church folks, unfairness in life, near bankruptcy, grandchildren facing pain and the death of a son. He reminded me that He never left me, and He never will.
Do I have all the answers? NO! Do I wish I could stop everyone’s pain? YES! But, the reality is that I cannot. We all suffer grief. We all suffer pain. Don’t judge God or the remainder of your life, by what you are experiencing today.
I didn’t invite you to coffee so I could say I have all the answers; I just came to testify! I didn’t come to make little of life’s pain; I just came to testify! I can truly testify that God is faithful to meet us in the mess and in the pain.
“The Lord blessed the latter part of Job’s life more than the former part.” – Job 42:12