Series Code: RQRA
Program Code: RQRA000001A
00:01 I don't understand
00:04 why did this have to happen to me?
00:08 I feel like I just can't make sense of things.
00:12 I need answers.
00:15 Where is God?
00:20 Where is God?
00:25 It's a huge question.
00:26 It's a question that has led to people rejecting God,
00:31 adopting atheism because they didn't believe
00:33 that God was there when they needed Him.
00:36 We're going to look at that question today.
00:38 Welcome to Raw Questions Relevant Answers.
00:41 In this program, we address questions
00:43 that young people have sent in.
00:45 People like yourself are asking these questions,
00:48 and we're going to take a look at that today.
00:49 My name is Michelle Doucoumes.
00:51 I'm your host, and I have my co-hosts with me,
00:54 Dee Casper and Mark Paden.
00:56 We have some big questions here today, guys.
00:59 And we're going to jump right into this
01:01 because I believe these are super important questions
01:04 for our life and for our faith.
01:07 First question comes from a 15-year-old female
01:10 in Tennessee who's saying,
01:12 "I don't understand the meaning of my life.
01:15 I feel alone.
01:17 God doesn't give any evidence that He is here.
01:20 I know He hates me
01:22 because He's never seemed to care.
01:25 Why am I such a failure?
01:27 I gave up such a long time ago.
01:30 When will God become real in my life?"
01:36 You know, I have to say
01:37 there is a lot of beauty in this question
01:40 because it's raw.
01:41 You know, it's something that it's...
01:45 I think we sometimes hold back on some of these questions
01:48 because we feel like,
01:49 you know, somebody is going to judge us
01:52 for or think less of us because of it,
01:54 but I just want to commend the person
01:56 who's asked this question
01:58 because, you know, praise the Lord
01:59 that they're willing to be honest
02:00 with what they're feeling.
02:02 You know, the first thing I want to say to is that,
02:06 you know, we live in the reality
02:07 of a great controversy, a battle between good and evil
02:11 where Satan is constantly trying to hurt us
02:14 and make us feel bad.
02:16 Satan wants to discourage us.
02:18 That's the plain and simple thing
02:20 because if he can discourage us
02:21 and get us to think that God is against us,
02:24 then he can get us into temptation,
02:26 he can get us to sin and leave God.
02:29 So the first thing that...
02:31 I think the first part of this answer
02:32 that I would give is, you know,
02:34 just for us to realize that
02:38 God is not as bad as Satan portrays Him to be.
02:41 God is actually a lot better
02:43 than how Satan portrays Him to be.
02:46 And the picture we see of God
02:47 is throughout Scripture is God pursuing people
02:50 who don't appreciate, who don't understand,
02:52 who will question Him,
02:54 the text that comes to my mind immediately is...
02:55 Go to Isaiah 49. Okay.
02:58 Isaiah 49, that all throughout the Old Testament
03:02 and the New Testament,
03:03 we see this, God pursuing His people,
03:05 they reject Him, they don't want to hear from Him.
03:07 They want nothing to do with Him.
03:08 And yet He keeps pursuing.
03:10 And then there's this situation in verse 14,
03:15 Isaiah 49:14 says,
03:18 "But Zion said..."
03:19 This is the people whom God has blessed,
03:22 whom God has sustained with life,
03:23 who's opened doors for them
03:25 and brought them lands and other things.
03:27 And then it says, "But Zion..."
03:28 Isaiah 49:14, Zion has said, "The Lord has forsaken me,
03:32 and my Lord has forgotten me."
03:35 And this resonates with the listener here,
03:38 the person who has asked this question
03:39 that seems like God isn't here, He doesn't care.
03:41 But listen to the response of God in verse 15,
03:45 "Can a woman forget her nursing child
03:47 and not have compassion on the son of her womb?"
03:50 He's using the most powerful, emotional language
03:53 He can find as far as that bond, right?
03:54 A closeness.
03:56 And He says, "Certainly, they may forget,
03:58 yet I will not forget you."
04:01 And then He says,
04:02 "See, I have inscribed you on the palms of My hands,
04:05 your walls are continually before Me."
04:07 This is explicit Calvary language.
04:10 If there's anything that shows that God cares,
04:13 that God has not forgotten us, it's Calvary.
04:15 And He's foretelling what will happen,
04:18 but the point is it's still this is true now,
04:20 so we feel like God isn't there, God doesn't care,
04:23 He just wants to give us a reminder
04:24 in the same way he dealt with the Israelites,
04:26 He'll say to us.
04:27 "Maybe your mother could forget you,
04:30 but I can't because I've paid for you,
04:33 I've bought you,
04:34 and your name is inscribed on the palms of My hands."
04:37 It's really interesting to me in that verse
04:39 that it talks about how your walls
04:41 are continually before Me.
04:45 We have walls in our lives,
04:48 sometimes it's because difficult things
04:50 have happened in our lives, and thus it's made it
04:53 that we protect ourselves
04:55 from other people by putting walls.
04:58 And even subconsciously, this can happen with God,
05:01 we can know intellectually, Jesus loves me,
05:04 He died for me,
05:05 but because of either things we've done
05:07 or other people have done to us,
05:09 the results of our sinful world that we live in,
05:11 it's like a wall goes around our heart.
05:15 And it's difficult because God may be there,
05:18 but we can't see Him through that wall.
05:20 We may not even realize that we have that wall.
05:23 And I love the fact that God is still there.
05:27 He's in the business of trying to break through,
05:30 to find cracks to get in,
05:32 and I invite whoever asked this question
05:34 to maybe think about the fact
05:36 that just because we can't sense God,
05:38 could it be that He's still there,
05:41 and we just can't see it.
05:43 Yes. And this is a picture throughout Scripture.
05:45 I mean, the chiefest example is Jesus Himself on the cross,
05:49 when He literally feels forsaken by God Himself.
05:52 He says, "My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?"
05:56 But we are told in Romans
05:58 that God was in Christ reconciling
06:00 the world to Himself.
06:02 You know, if there's these dark clouds
06:05 all around the cross when Jesus is dying,
06:07 one is tempted to ask the question like,
06:09 "What if God Himself was actually there
06:12 beside Jesus at the cross?"
06:14 You know, there's many instances
06:15 where I think that we see
06:17 this evidence of God being present,
06:18 and we don't sense it at the time,
06:20 but He has been.
06:22 And I think it's a good reminder.
06:24 You know, one other point that I'd like to make
06:26 in regards to this person feeling like a failure
06:28 and like God isn't interested in them,
06:30 doesn't care about them because they failed.
06:33 One of the most beautifully redemptive stories
06:35 in the Old Testament
06:37 is the story of Jonah in Nineveh, right?
06:39 So at the beginning in Jonah 1:2,
06:44 God comes to Jonah and says, "Arise, go to Nineveh,
06:47 that great city, and cry against it,
06:49 for their wickedness has come up before Me."
06:51 Like this city is so bad
06:54 that God has to tell prophet to go and talk to them
06:58 because they're that wicked,
07:00 like this is an exceptionally wicked city.
07:02 I mean, more wicked
07:03 than a lot of the other nations around them, right?
07:05 This is how bad it's getting,
07:06 and yet God tells Jonah to go there.
07:08 And as the story progresses, Jonah doesn't want to go.
07:11 He's terrified of it.
07:12 So he runs from God,
07:13 he gets eventually in this bad storm,
07:16 he gets thrown into the ocean,
07:17 and then God sends a whale to come and grab him
07:21 and take him back to Nineveh.
07:23 And then once he's repented,
07:24 he's willing to go and speak to the Ninevites.
07:28 And then God originally said,
07:30 "Look, if you guys don't repent,
07:32 there's going to be some bad stuff happening."
07:34 And then they repent, and then God doesn't do it.
07:37 He saves them, He spares them.
07:39 Now this is the story of a city that was incredibly wicked,
07:44 totally against God, had no desire for God.
07:47 They were just straight up rebellious and wicked.
07:50 And yet, look at the tenderness that God is dealing with them.
07:53 He did so much to get them
07:56 to be willing to come back to Him.
07:58 And that's what He's going to do for somebody
08:00 that's totally rebellious,
08:02 what about if we keep failing and we're struggling,
08:04 and we're hurting?
08:06 Like a parent wouldn't reprimand a child
08:11 when they keep failing and failing
08:14 if they're trying.
08:15 It's like God even made it...
08:17 He cared so much, He sent a fish to swallow a man
08:21 just to give him a chance.
08:22 Pretty crazy, and, you know,
08:25 not cutting this conversation off,
08:27 the second question really relates to this as well.
08:29 And I want to read this.
08:30 It says, this is from a 16-year-old female
08:33 from Maryland, "How do I know God exist?
08:36 Whenever I ask Him to help me, He is never there.
08:40 Like I've lived the Christian life,
08:41 done all the right things, yet He is not there for me.
08:45 It's like praying to a wall."
08:46 And so I want to flip that question a little bit.
08:49 We know that, like you said,
08:51 God is compassionate
08:52 even when we are doing maybe the wrong things,
08:56 but what about when we're doing
08:57 what we think are the right things?
08:59 Trying to live the Christian life,
09:01 we're still not maybe experiencing God how we would.
09:04 One of the examples that comes to my mind
09:05 immediately is John the Baptist,
09:07 like this is a guy who is called by Jesus
09:10 and given a commendation by Jesus.
09:12 He's the greatest prophet that ever has lived
09:13 and ever will live.
09:15 And yet this guy,
09:16 as soon as Jesus' ministry comes on the scene,
09:19 when Jesus...
09:20 You would think that He's going to be there
09:22 to see all the miracles that Jesus performs,
09:23 he ends up in prison.
09:25 And it's not because he ends up in prison
09:27 'cause he did something wrong,
09:28 he's incarcerated for only doing what was right.
09:31 And yet, even in this moment, there is a God in heaven
09:33 who loved him, who ministered to his needs
09:36 while he was in that prison cell
09:37 and reminded him of the precious promises of Scripture.
09:40 And even Jesus send the message to him,
09:41 telling him, "I am who you thought I was
09:45 and don't lose sight of that."
09:46 And so I think that there's pictures throughout Scripture
09:49 of people who stood for the right
09:51 and ended up dealing up with difficulty.
09:52 Daniel's another, Mary, Martha and Lazarus,
09:56 people who were good friends of Jesus,
09:57 who went through a great tragedy,
09:59 and yet God brought great glory out of the tragedy
10:02 and the difficultly in a way that they didn't expect.
10:05 They thought He would bring glory out of it
10:06 by healing Lazarus,
10:07 but Jesus bought even more glory
10:09 by raising him from the dead.
10:10 So I hear you saying that sometimes
10:12 God's deliverance comes like Daniel or Shadrach,
10:16 Meshach, and Abednego,
10:17 and He takes them out of the trouble
10:19 or maybe sometimes like John the Baptist,
10:21 God doesn't deliver that way,
10:23 but it doesn't mean that God wasn't there
10:25 or that they did something wrong.
10:27 You know, I want to put in an analogy on this.
10:29 You know, one of the biggest things
10:30 that interferes in interpersonal,
10:32 especially romantic relationships
10:33 is failed expectations, right?
10:36 People will think
10:37 that their significant other doesn't love them
10:41 or doesn't care about them
10:42 when they fail to meet a certain expectation,
10:45 but that isn't necessarily always
10:47 your partner's problem.
10:49 It's sometimes are unreasonable expectations.
10:52 And I think sometimes we kind of come to God,
10:55 can I say with unreasonable expectation sometimes.
10:58 We want God to do certain things for us,
11:00 and we hinge His love of us
11:02 on doing that particular thing for us.
11:04 This is totally true.
11:06 There's actually a commentary on the life of Christ
11:07 called Desire of Ages.
11:08 It has this amazing line,
11:10 I believe it was in the context of John the Baptist,
11:12 but it could be Mary, Martha, and Lazarus,
11:13 but it's relevant in either case,
11:15 where it literally says that they were looking for a Messiah
11:17 who had not been promised,
11:20 and they were discouraged
11:21 because their expectations are based upon
11:23 what they thought Jesus would do
11:25 and when Jesus didn't do those things,
11:26 they thought, "He doesn't love me, He doesn't care."
11:29 But the problem wasn't that Jesus had overpromised
11:31 and underdelivered.
11:33 It's that Jesus didn't meet their expectations
11:36 as opposed to what He said He would do.
11:38 The amazing thing is even in spite of that,
11:40 He got glory out of those situations
11:41 in amazing and powerful ways.
11:43 For sure.
11:44 The story of John the Baptist
11:46 has been an inspiration to many souls
11:48 who die in lonely prison cells,
11:51 who were martyrs on behalf of Christ
11:52 in Dark Ages or other times.
11:54 And his story did that for them because God never left him,
11:57 and God knew that he could stand.
11:59 So you're staying that God was doing something.
12:01 He was meeting, maybe even bigger expectations,
12:04 but it wasn't what we expected and that happens.
12:08 We have one more question, and it's pretty big here.
12:10 It says, "Why should I keep trying something
12:13 that does not work?
12:15 The very definition of an idiot
12:17 is someone trying the same thing
12:19 over and over again expecting different results.
12:21 It seems hopeless."
12:23 What would you say to someone
12:25 who's maybe been trying with God,
12:26 but it's been a bit discouraged like that?
12:29 You know, I think honestly,
12:32 I think a lot of it does get back to expectations,
12:36 and also the soil of our own heart.
12:40 It's here in Hebrews 11,
12:44 "But without faith it is impossible to please Him,
12:47 for he that cometh to God must believe
12:49 that He is and that He is a rewarder
12:51 of them that diligently seek Him."
12:53 You know, when we come to God,
12:56 one of the most important things is
12:58 that we come in a submissive contrite way
13:01 and in a way that is believing His promises,
13:05 claiming them, and truly seeking Him.
13:08 And the promise is, if we diligently seek Him,
13:11 we will find Him, and we can claim that promise
13:14 when we're seeking Him
13:15 when He doesn't seem to be there.
13:17 We can claim that promise.
13:18 Jesus says, "If any man come unto Me,
13:20 I will no wise cast him out."
13:22 And I remember reading this touching letter
13:23 that's written by one of the founders of our church
13:26 to someone who is struggling.
13:27 And they told them that,
13:29 you know, "If you bring this one promise to Jesus,"
13:31 and it may seem like it's the only one you have,
13:32 "But if you come unto Me, you will no wise be cast out."
13:35 They said, "If you claim this promise,
13:37 and that's all you got,
13:38 you are safe as though inside of the city of God."
13:43 And so no matter how you feel, what else is going on,
13:46 if you trust that He says, "If you come to Me,
13:47 I'm not going to cast you out."
13:49 Those are the words of Jesus, take them to the bank.
13:51 Yeah. Wow!
13:52 So for those of you out here watching
13:54 who may also be asking these questions,
13:56 where is God, what is happening,
13:59 I just really encourage you don't give up.
14:02 We have a God who is pursuing us,
14:05 who wants to have a relationship with us,
14:08 and is waiting for that.
14:09 Please continue to watch,
14:11 and we will continue to do to have answers.