Lord, Where Were You?
“Lord,” Martha said to Jesus, “if you had been here, my brother would not have died" (John 11:21, NIV).
Martha was never one to hold her tongue. You always knew where you stood with this lady! “Lord,” she said, “if You would have been here, my brother would not have died.” To paraphrase it, “Where were You anyway, Jesus?”
Maybe you’ve said something similar during or after some crisis in your life:
Lord, where were You when my parents divorced?
Lord, where were You when we got that diagnosis of cancer?
Lord, where were You when our marriage fell apart?
Lord, where were You when I lost my job?
Lord, where were You when my child got into trouble?
Lord, where were You when my loved one died?
Please notice that Jesus didn’t reprove Martha for what she said. It isn’t wrong to tell God exactly how you feel. I think we sometimes get the idea that it’s irreverent or sinful to express our real fears or the doubts of our heart, even to God. When we read the psalms, we learn there were many times when David and the other psalmists really “let their hair down” with God. They cried out to Him and emptied the contents of their hearts in His presence.
I have done this many times. In my pain, I will cry out to God. Sometimes the reality that my son is gone hits my heart like a sledgehammer, and I say, “Oh, God. I can’t believe this! I can’t handle this pain!” But then I will preach to myself, and I’ll say, “Now Greg, listen to me. Your son is alive—more alive than he has ever been before. He’s in the presence of the Lord, and you are going to see him again in just a few years.” And I will remind myself of the promises of God.
My prayers, however, are wide open and honest. I pour out my heart before God, describing my pain to Him. But I also remind myself of God’s truth. And that is what prayer is.
God wants us to cry out to Him. He invites us to pour out our hearts before Him. David writes, “Trust in him at all times, you people; pour out your hearts to him, for God is our refuge” (Psalm 62:8, NIV).