I have two people come into my office today, both going through an immensely painful period in their life. They are overwhelmed with sadness and confusion. The don’t understand why things have happened to them and why God has allowed these things to happen to them. They are filled with doubt and they feel guilty about it.
Have you ever gone through something and feel that you should be over it? Have you ever doubted God and feel guilty that you did? After all, if God is God and i have faith in Him, then all things are possible…whatever I ask in His name will be given…He is working all things for my good….right? What do you do when your head knows all of the promises, but your heart still hurts, still doubts, and is still broken?
Today, I want to remind you that God is the One who sustains. He doesn’t always heal. He doesn’t always fix. He doesn’t always repair. But He does sustain. He doesn’t let us fall off the deep end even though I will confess there have been times in my life when it felt as if I had fallen off the deep end. He sustains. He holds us without letting us fall.
As I was speaking to these two people in my office today, I was reminded of Elijah in Scripture. Elijah was so certain that after waiting years that God was finally going to overthrow the evil king of Israel, Ahab. You remember him, don’t you? He was married to that horrible woman Jezebel. Elijah was called by God to stand up to Ahab and give him a chance to change his ways. But Ahab with the nudging of Jezebel only did more evil in the eyes of God. The day had finally come for God to do His thing. It was a showdown at the altar. The priests of the false god asked for fire and got nothing. Elijah prayed and the fire fell. This was it. God was about to move on Ahab and Jezebel. But then…He didn’t. They remained in power.
Elijah went out into the desert and asked God to let him die. He doubted. He was angry. He was confused. God didn’t fix everything. He didn’t overthrow Ahab and He did not pull Elijah out of his depression and frustration. Instead, God sent an angel to feed him, to sustain him. Elijah slept and God sent another hot meal delivered by an angelic messenger. Still nothing had changed in Elijah. Ahab and Jezebel were still on the throne. Everything was the same and God sustained Elijah. This second meal, the angel said to Elijah, was to give him energy to travel to the Mountain of God. Here, the Lord said to Elijah that He was going to pass by. The Lord was not in the fire, nor the wind, nor the earthquake. He was in the small whisper. He was revealing Himself to Elijah in a new way. He was revealing to Elijah that He was still at work, but differently than Elijah had expected, different from how Elijah wanted. Has the Lord ever dealt with a situation in a way that you did not understand or agree with?
God sustains us in the pain of doubt and frustration to keep us focused on Him. We may not praise Him. We may yell and scream at Him. Nevertheless, the pain keeps us before His throne. We wrestle with doubt and faith. He doesn’t become angry, nor does He punish us. Rather, He sustains us in this moment until we accept that His ways are higher than ours.
When God sustains us in pain, there is a purpose. He is moving upon our soul and taking us to a new faith that will bring greater blessing. If you can’t just get over your pain…if you can’t just put a smile on your face and go back to work…if the pain is debilitating…know this – God is holding you here for a season, a purpose. He will not let you fall. He will feed you with small miracles of love from places and people we never would have expected. Little by little, day by day, you will make it to the Mountain of God and your faith will exceed your doubt and your blessing will exceed your pain.