Where Is God?

Tpray copyhis is Day 28 of the 31 Days of Writing Challenge! Only three more days left of the Challenge. You will find the complete list beginning on  Day 1. You will find Day 28 a bit different from the way I have been traveling down this Prayer path. A valid question was asked, and when I became aware of the wondrous answer, I had to place it here with our exploration of Listening Prayer.

Since July 25, 2014, my dad has been in Five Oaks Nursing Center in Kannapolis, NC.

There are some wonderful benefits offered to him there:

  • They have Bingo.
  • They have quality care.
  • It is located close to my sister.
  • It is very clean.
  • It has no unpleasant smell.
  • They have regular planned activities.
  • They help him become more independent.

Aside from these benefits, it is a place of pain, suffering, distress, and misery.

At any given time, you are likely to hear pitiful cries bellowing from rooms. You may hear someone rolling their wheelchair down the hall while hollering, “Somebody, help me. Oh, Jesus, somebody help me!” Sometimes you hear, cursing, or moaning, and alarms going off when someone has crossed their boundaries of movement.

I visited him there twice this week, and Jay asked  this thought-provoking question: “Where is God in this?”

children calcuttaI thought about this for some time, and I thought about the sad fact that as bad as this was, there were much worse places on the earth. For example,250,000 homeless children live on the streets of Calcutta encountering daily dangers and abuses with barely enough nutrition to stay alive another day. Where is God in this?

One of the most horrific places and times in recent history was the Ravensbrück concentration camp in Germany, where Corrie Ten Boom and her sister Betsie were imprisoned for hiding Jews in their home. Corrie tells her story in the Hiding Place. One example of the pain, misery, suffering and distress that has invaded our earth is this place.Here’s a description taken form this article:

“Barracks built for 250 women later housed 1,500 or 2,000, with three to four to a bed. Thousands of women did not even have part of a bed, and were lying on the floor, without even a blanket. When 500 Jewish women arrived from Hungary in the fall of 1944, they were placed in a huge tent with a straw floor and died in masses. A plague of lice and danger of disease from the water made life in the barracks even more unbearable.”

Many asked, “Where was God?”

Ed Rouse3Jay’s question demanded an answer. “This is not God,” he said. We’ve taught our children that God is love, and life, and joy, and peace. Every good and perfect gift comes from God. What is going on here? Pain will remain. Suffering will continue. Distress lingers; misery persists.Where is God? God showed us the answer.

  • He is in the kind nursing assistant who patiently warmed the tray of cold food my dad had been offered.
  • He is in the sister who goes day after day to bring a smile, love and sunshine, making sure he has everything he needs.
  • He is in the son-in-law who drives 15 minutes both ways to bring a milkshake because “Pop” couldn’t eat his supper.
  • He is in the wife who answers the phone, though she’s been asleep for hours, and patiently answers his questions.
  • He is in the volunteers who take the residents on outings.
  • He is in the nurses who work long hours and still maintain a pleasant demeanor.
  • He is in the volunteers that take time to come and sing, entertain, engage or pray.
  • He is in the touch on the shoulder, the hug, the time spent listening.

Ed Rouse2You find him as your father tells you once again of stories of his childhood. From his wheelchair, even though he has fallen out of bed the night before, even though he is confined to the inside of this building, even though he has barely been able to eat for days, he shakes his head and says, “I’ve had a great life.” And then he says it again.

You find Him in the prayer prayed by the grandson asking for healing and for peace for his grandfather.

Many are the people you encounter who have that same pain, suffering, distress, and misery right within the confines of their body, soul, and mind. You meet these people every day. You sit near them at church and pass them at the grocery store. You interact with them on a daily basis. Some may be family members and friends. Where is God? Look for Him. He is there. You are there.

It isn’t easy to see God, or hear God in a place like Five Oaks Manor with so many suffering, helpless people. You have to look closely. If you don’t find Him, you must look within yourself. He is there.

He is there in a glimmer of light, a glimmer of kindness, a glimmer of hope, a glimmer of love. He is there.

Betsie Ten Boom died on December 16, 1944. Before she died, she told Corrie,

“There is no pit so deep that He [God] is not deeper still.” He is there.

Can you find HIm?

Ed Rouse4Continue to Day 29

 

 

 

14 Responses

  1. That is one of my favorite books. When I get to my “ungrateful” mindset…I just remember how Betsie thanked God for the fleas. The fleas and lice which allowed them to have their Bible studies out in the open in their bunks. Everything has a role, and what seems like a curse can easily be the biggest blessing.

    I hope your father is adjusting well, and that he’s enjoying the bingo and other activities! And that you all continue to see God throughout the place.

  2. And, let’s not forget the holocaust of abortion – where is God in THAT? But, He can be found in the healing hearts and forgiveness of those who are post-abortive. Because wherever there is a place of (seemingly) hopelessness, He can be found and He can offer new hope in Himself. Amen. Awesome post.

  3. This is beautiful, Sharon. I walked the same road a couple of years ago as my Mom spent her final years in a nursing home. She’d had a rough life, but God met her there and she felt comfort and love in her final years. Bless you for sharing!

  4. Thank you for the powerful reminder, Sharon, that God is in US, wherever He puts us today … THAT is where He is in every situation. Wow.

  5. Amen! God does not cause the results of sin.He does send his people to be his hands and feet and tender touch and kind words to a hurting world. We’ve got work to do!

  6. I often wonder what kind of circumstances my father would have endured if his disease had forced him to long term care. His cancer was quick. I am grateful for that since I was several states away. I have been in many nursing homes and have experienced just what you are talking about. It is difficult. Jesus is there. We have to train our eye to see it. I will have to read the Hiding Place! Thanks!

  7. Hope your dad is enjoying his time in his new home and that he is enjoying this new stage in his life.

  8. Since I’m still working on my book about caring for Dad, most of which was in the nursing home, your post definitely struck home. I want to add what I have discovered in working on the book: sometimes, you just have to walk by faith that God is there, despite your inability to see, hear, or feel Him while walking through that season. Just wait. Years later, as you reflect on those days and those situations and those people, you will realize You were looking right at Him, you were hearing Him, you were being touched by Him, and you were touching others in His place.

    I hope it won’t take as many years as it has taken me. Yes, I knew He was there in those very dark days – even as I cried out in anger and frustration at His seeming indifference. I wanted to understand with my mind. He wanted me to trust, because He was, in fact, at work in ways I couldn’t see or understand yet.

    When I look back now, and realize what I failed to recognize then, I’m even more thankful for the amazing mercy and grace and love of my wonderful Father – never withholding from me even when I railed at Him. Continuing to love and lead me each step of the way in that season and on into the next and the next.

    I will continue to lift your family up, Sharon. Even when being aware of our wonderful loving Lord’s presence in all those places and people and ways, it is not an easy time. Praying for His peace that passes understanding even in the tears.

  9. Sharon, your vivid description of your father’s situation puts your readers right there with you. Your words are so powerful, and yes, He is in every moment where your father is. We only have to have eyes to see. Prayers to you and your family as you continue to walk with your dad. How blessed he is to have a family who loves him.

  10. Beautiful post. Too often we look for God in the situation instead of those souls in the moment with us.

  11. Yes, God is there in the midst of the pain, suffering, and sorrow. Even if we can’t find him, we must trust that He is there with us.

  12. Love this post so much! Thanks for sharing. Now I have to find kleenex to wipe the tears from my eyes 😉

  13. Thanks Sharon, I think of times gone by. The visits we had as children. Your Dad always made me laugh. I love your family. Even though we have been parted by miles I think of each if you often and I am glad we can share pictures and moments through Facebook. Please know family is very strong and I pray Uncle Ed and Aunt Bea know we think of them often and love them even more.
    Thanks for your inspirational post.
    Love Deb

  14. Beautiful and touching post. God is there. How often I need this reminder. He is with us in everything! So glad I followed you at Testimony Tuesday! God bless you!

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