When we were in the heat of our grief, I remember thinking, "If God were really with me, he wouldn't allow all of this to happen." I don't think I ever said it aloud, but I know I thought it. A lot.
I think that's what led me to search the Bible for an answer. A couple of weeks ago, I shared about Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. These three men chose to follow God even if he chose not to save them.
Another Bible passage that really helped me was the story of Joseph. Here's a little background information:
Joseph was one of 12 sons of Jacob. In fact, he was the favorite son. You'd think this would be a positive thing in Joseph's life, but it wasn't. Because he was the favorite, the other sons hated Joseph. So much so that they sold him into slavery. As the years passed, problem after problem attacked Joseph. He ended up being falsely accused of molestation and put in prison. Then, when he finally had a chance to get out of jail, he was forgotten by the only man who could save him. Here's where it gets interesting.
In the midst of all of this (slavery, falsely accused of a crime, and then jail), the Bible says these words: "But while Joseph was there in the prison, the Lord was with him" (Genesis 39: 20-21, NIV). I've read this passage many times before but for some reason, when I read it this particular time, a new insight hit me.
The text says that the Lord was with Joseph while he was in prison. If it had said, "The Lord was with him, so he freed him from prison," that would make sense. But it doesn't. God was with him in the midst of his suffering. He didn't save him from it, but helped him through it.
That was huge for me. It reassured me that God was still with me, even if he didn't prevent bad things from happening. His presence is not contingent on my circumstances.
I don't know what you're going through right now. I want you to know that whatever your circumstances, the Lord has not left you. He was with Joseph in jail. He's with you now.