1 How long, O Lord? Will You forget me forever? How long will You hide Your face from me?
2 How long shall I take counsel in my soul, having sorrow in my heart daily? How long will my enemy be exalted over me?
3 Consider and hear me, O Lord my God; enlighten my eyes, lest I sleep the sleep of death;
4 Lest my enemy say, “I have prevailed against him”; lest those who trouble me rejoice when I am moved.
5 But I have trusted in Your mercy; My heart shall rejoice in Your salvation.
6 I will sing to the Lord, because He has dealt bountifully with me. (NKJV)
One of the most excruciating experiences of human existence is to have to face an overwhelming trial while having a strong feeling that God just isn’t there for you in that dark hour. Have you ever felt that way?
Have you ever had to walk through a valley of suffering feeling alone with no signs of God anywhere?
Do you know what it feels like to sense that God just doesn’t care what you are experiencing and how you are suffering?
Have you ever felt like God is there for everyone else except for you?
I have been a Christian now for over 35 years, and I have served in ministry for over 25 years. Through these many seasons of life I have learned a few things about these lonely valleys of suffering. Please allow me to share a few of them with you.
Important Realization #1:
Even when God is “not there,” He IS there.
I am discovering after having experienced many painful valleys that God truly is there even when I don’t sense His presence. He may not respond exactly the way I want him to, but that is always because His plan is much higher and more sophisticated than I could ever imagine.
He has an amazing way of working for my ultimate good through those dark moments, and relieving the pain momentarily would not allow Him to accomplish that bigger plan in my life. So the pain continues, and God is there, and His purposes are made perfect through those experiences.
Important Realization #2:
I almost never understand the reason for the suffering while I am in the middle of the storm.
God’s plans are so high and lofty that my small mind cannot even come close to comprehending them. If He was to try to sit down and explain why I am going through a particular experience, He would likely begin explaining to me some events that took place back in the 1500s. He would then trace it through the millions and millions of different lives that were all interrelated over the course of the next several centuries. And then that would bring Him to my life and the specific experience today which then also relates to the next century or two of time.
His plan is so complex that He would lose me on the second or third sentence. So there is no way we could ever truly grasp an explanation from the Creator and Sustainer of the universe.
Most of the time I never really “get” why I am suffering until a much later time in my life. Sometimes it can take months, sometimes years, and sometimes I never really have a full understanding. Some things will only make sense when I get to heaven and have a chance to ask God personally. But for now I must trust Him.
Important Realization #3:
God always has a purpose, and that purpose is always good.
There is no such thing as random pain without meaning. God uses pain to speak into our world and into our lives directly. He teaches us things through pain that we could never learn through a seminar or book or podcast. Some people reject God, because they can’t think of a reason why God would allow pain or suffering. But just because we can’t think of a reason for the pain does not mean that a good reason does not exist. (Sorry for the double negative there. I hope you get my point.)
God’s ways are perfect, and His love for us is without end. And every single millisecond of suffering is always for a good purpose in our lives. Always!
Important Realization #4:
It’s ok to doubt God, but never deny Him.
By reading the verses from Psalm 13 above, we can see that even David at times felt like God was nowhere to be found. But he never got to the point where he denied God’s existence. As a matter of fact, he goes on to say in the very first verse of the next Psalm that “the fool has said in his heart that there is no God.” (Psalm 14:1)
It’s ok to doubt, but don’t allow yourself to sink to the point where you actually deny God’s existence. That will only end in disaster for you. Instead, hang onto God’s hand as you ride out the storm.
In that dark night of suffering, just close your eyes and hold His hand. You will make it through if you hang on. If you let go, all bets are off. So hold tightly to the Rock.
The Bottom Line.
If you’re reading this blog post, it is not by random chance. God drew you here to receive these words. He wants you to trust Him. He wants you to know that He loves you, and He is there for you no matter how you may feel at this present moment.
Just close your eyes and hold onto His hand.
He will bring you through the darkness.
Run TO God and not AWAY from Him.
Never jump off the Rock in the midst of the storm.
The sun will shine tomorrow, and you will again experience the amazing blessings of the God who loves you.