Pain and Presence

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Certain seasons in life are riddled with deep, unbearable, crushing pain. We cry out to God, question his justice, fairness and sovereignty, but often find little to no answer. We can easily begin to think that God isn’t there, or worse–he just doesn’t care.

In the Book of Genesis we learn about Joseph’s pain and disillusionment: he’s betrayed by his own family, left for dead in a pit, sold into slavery in Egypt, falsely accused of assaulting his master’s wife, and left to rot in a rat infested Egyptian jail. He’s wounded deeply and repeatedly for years, and the crazy thing is, God let it happen! If you read Genesis 37-50 you’ll not find God saying much at all. He is silent. Thankfully though, Joseph’s story didn’t stop in prison. He was eventually freed and became second in command to the king of Egypt. But, still, God was not speaking.

Joseph’s story reaches a fever pitch when he stands before the brothers who betrayed him. He possessed all the authority in Egypt to exact his revenge, but instead, he recognized God’s movement in his life and showed mercy to his betrayers: “You intended me harm, but God intended it for good,”(Genesis 50:20).

How powerful! Despite God’s silence, he saw the hand of God in his circumstances, turning the evil of his brothers into something that preserved his entire family and began the nation of Israel. In other words, God worked incredible good out of incredible despair.

Though it may not seem like it, God is working through our pain and disappointment. Even though the pain seems unfair, inexplicable and insurmountable: God is there. Even if he seems silent: God is there. Even if we turn our back on him in bitterness: He is still there.Like Joseph’s, I don’t believe that our story has to end in pain and heartache. Yes, heartache is real and can be so deeply profound! I don’t begrudge anyone the right to grieve. Even Jesus mourned (John 11:35). Nevertheless, in painful seasons, when God’s silence seems deafening and the pain is deep, I urge us all to trust in his abiding presence. Your story is not over. It may not end like Joseph’s, but God hasn’t forgotten about you! He is there.

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