There I was-sitting in darkness, my expectations of God shattered on the floor among the dirty laundry. “Where were you, God?” my heart screamed, but my lips were silenced by my tears. He gave me no answer. The silence was infuriating as I scoured the pages of my Bible to find some sort of explanation.
I slammed the Bible shut, curled up in my bed, and sobbed harder. I would like to say that in that moment, I felt the presence of Jesus holding me, but I didn’t. I felt alone. Jesus felt like a stranger to me. It was not until weeks-maybe even months-later that I saw his hands at work in my life-through other people, through art, through his word.
Have you ever wondered where Jesus is when the pain of doubt and broken hope hits you with blunt force? I have more than once-and we are in good company.
In Luke 24:13-35, we see a disciple named Cleopas, along with one who is unnamed, walking down the road, lamenting about the seeming demise of their Lord, Jesus.
“But we had hoped” There is so much pain in that phrase. The searing pain of shattered hope, disappointment, unmet expectations, and doubt. Every part of them was wrapped up in this one hope and then the cross happened. Circumstances did not meet their expectations. They heard that Jesus had rose from the dead, but they couldn’t believe it. All the while the risen Jesus was walking right beside them and they did not see him.
Often in our doubt, Jesus is walking right beside us and we simply do not see him. Jesus doesn’t want to give us all the answers to our questions and doubts-and if we’re honest, we don’t really want all of the answers. The answers will not change our pain, but Jesus takes our pain and turns it into beauty.
Faith does not grow from knowing all the answers, but it grows in walking with the One who holds all of the answers. Jesus walks with us through our doubt instead of handing us the answer key. He does this because he wants to give us the very thing our soul needs, which is himself.
What shattered hopes, disappointments, and unmet expectations are you wrestling with right now? I want to challenge you to take this to Jesus-be completely honest with him, even if it’s ugly. Bring to him all of your questions-he is the infinite God and is big enough to handle them. Ask him to show you how he is walking beside you where you may have missed him.
If you’re in a place where you just can’t fathom seeing Jesus in your doubt-if you feel like you can’t walk another step further- I want to tell you, it’s OK. Just be honest with him. His grace is sufficient.
Let’s keep trudging through that fog, even when it’s hard. One day, you may recognize that the stranger walking next to you is Jesus.
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