Where is God in Our Pain?


Because of our emotions we usually don’t feel the presence of God during a crisis. In Psalm 42 the psalmist was being led away captive from the city of God, the temple and God’s presence. He was in crisis, his emotions were churning, and he was wondering if he would ever feel God’s presence again. His situation was bleak and his captors were casting insults at him saying, “Where is your God” (Psalm 42:3)?

He says in his distress, “Why have You forgotten me? Why do I go mourning because of the oppression of the enemy? As with a breaking of my bones, my enemies reproach me, while they say to me all day long, where is your God” (Psalm 42:9-10)? He recalls the processions of God’s people to the temple, the voices of joy and praise, the fellowship and excitement of being with God and His people (Psalm 42:4).

In Psalm 42:1-2, as he wonders if he will ever experience God’s presence and the fellowship of His people again, he cries out, “As the deer pants for the water brooks, so my soul pants for You, O God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When shall I come and appear before God?”

There are times when God seems to withdraw His presence. At times He allows this so a hunger and thirst for Him will be cultivated within us. This is what took place in the soul of the psalmist. As his heart yearned for God’s presence, faith was stirred within him and in faith he challenged himself twice, “Why are you cast down, O my soul? And why are you disquieted within me? Hope in God, for I shall yet praise Him, for the help of His countenance” (Psalm 42:5 and 11).

As he speaks out in faith, we see praise is an integral part of his restoration and recovery. In the midst of all his trial and devastation, Job said, “Though he slay me, yet will I trust in him” (Job 13:15). Even when God seems distant and we feel angry with Him because of our situation, we must still praise and worship Him.

It’s during these times we must offer up a sacrifice of praise. It’s a sacrifice because we don’t feel like thanking Him. It takes work and is something we must choose to do. “By Him (Jesus) therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to His name” (Hebrews 13:15).

Prayer: “Lord Jesus, I long for your presence. Please restore to me the joy of your salvation and your presence and allow Your precious Holy Spirit to comfort me (John 14:26). Be with me in my time of difficulty. I choose to praise and worship you with all my heart. In Jesus name, Amen!”

Starting a new church or ministry is one of the most rewarding things you can do to advance the kingdom, but it can also be very challenging. With over 40 years of church planting and ministry experience, Dr. Linton’s passion is to encourage, support and equip pastors and church leaders.