Why, LORD, do you stand far off?  Why do you hide yourself in times of trouble? Psalm 10:1

It’s during the wilderness time of our lives that we expect God to be present. After all, doesn’t scripture say ‘He is an ever present help in times of trouble?” (Psalm 46:1-2) Aren’t we told we can hide in him? (Psalm 91:1-2)

Too often it seems like he is the one hiding. If we are honest, the times of trouble we go through aren’t nearly as hard to take as the feeling that in those times of trouble we struggle to see God’s face. “I could endure this trouble if I could see you!” we tell ourselves.

Those struggles of our heart, the painful wandering in the wilderness of our souls are the true test of our trust in God and our belief in the hope we have through Christ. If God were to carry us through every trial and make our journey effortless; if he were to keep us from all pain and suffering and show us the easy way to traverse the rocky path of life; if he were to protect us from all pain, then from where would we learn to be strong. Troubling times are the skeleton, the muscles of life that give us strength to carry on.

Somewhere along the line we’ve gotten the mistaken idea that if God is a God of love, then pain will be absent from our lives, but this is never found in scripture. On earth, during this life we should not be surprised when trouble comes, we should be expecting it.

Sometimes we have to admit that the trials we endure are the consequences of past sin. We are forgiven to be sure, but the consequences of that sin can last a lifetime. Sometimes those consequences are natural results of our choices. Sometimes those consequences are the result of critical and judgmental people who refuse to allow us to forget our past. Either way, the consequences of our past can keep us from seeing the Father.

Times of trouble can be lessons of grace as well. Paul prayed three times for some unknown thorn to be removed from his life. The answer? My grace is sufficient. Were we to be trouble free, we might naturally assume that we are in control of our destiny, that we are able to make our way on our own strength. Grace reminds us that we need God. Times of trouble remind us that we need grace.

Times of trouble come at the hands of evil men as well. People who call themselves messengers of God can be the worst. They put the label of their religion on everything they do, but there is no grace. There is no understanding. There is no compassion. We are misjudged, misunderstood and mistreated. Sometimes for our past (which was forgiven) sometimes for our stand for God.

There may be other reasons you can think of for why this ‘time of trouble’ has come into your life. It may be to teach you some lesson on life, or to strengthen you for the future. Whatever the case, when you can’t see the Father you can know two things. One, he is not far away. Two, he has good reason to allow you this ‘time of trouble’. Use it to grow more closely to him or it will be used by the enemy to pull you away.

PRAYER: Father, I don’t understand you. I confess that openly. It’s especially hard to understand you during those times when I feel like I need you the most and can’t find

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