In John’s gospel in reference to the death of Lazarus, these words are written.
Martha said to Jesus, “Lord, if you would have been here my brother would not have died.” John 11:21
Now when Mary came to where Jesus was and saw him she fell at his feet, saying to him “Lord, if you had been here my brother would not have died.” John 11:32
I remember sitting in a church service after a tragic incident had happen and heard “God had nothing to do with that.” If the preacher had looked me in the eye when he said that statement he might have seen the look on my face that displayed my thoughts of “That ain’t right.” At that point in my life, I was a theological Nazi and I thought Jesus made me a missionary to those in theological poverty. As I have gotten older I realized that I have had my moments where I believed “God had nothing to do with that.” I never uttered the exact words but my actions on occasion would reveal this was my belief.
Many times I believe it is easier to say God was not there in a tragic event than to explain how he was watching when it happened. We live in a sinful world that is full of the sinful men. If you are having trouble believing how terrible this world is STOP READING right now and turn on the news. Believers must either decide that God takes breaks while sin takes action or that God is watching while the effects of sin affect this world. However, I found myself number of times in my walk when sin seemed more present in my environment. They resulted in me asking God, where are you? The cries of my heart echoed that of Mary and Martha “Lord, if you had of been there.” Mary and Martha were saying Jesus if you had of been with us longer our brother would still be alive. They were saying Jesus if you had been here things would be better than they are now. So how do we answer the question of where is God when the results of sins seems like more of a reality then he is? I would just like to share what I have learned.
I answer the question with Exodus 2:24-25:
“And God heard their groaning, and God remembered his covenant with Abraham, with Isaac, and with Jacob. God saw the people of Israel—and God knew.”
I heard a sermon by Voddie Baucham explaining this passage and the Lord rearranged my theology through his sermon. God does not leave or take breaks while sin seems to run rapid. God hears! God Remembers! God sees! God Knows! This is good news because if the opposite is true then there is reason to be depressed. If the opposite is true then God turns his head for moments in time while evil runs amok. I don’t know about you but if God takes breaks then the fear of knowing that would scare me more than snail in a salt mine. However, I thank God that HE IS EVERYWHERE AT ALL TIMES.
D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones rightly said:
“This is the fundamental thing, the most serious thing of all, that we are always in the presence of God.”
We can never say God was not there.
Where can I go to escape Your Spirit?
Where can I flee from Your presence?
If I go up to heaven, You are there;
if I make my bed in Sheol, You are there.