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Have you ever asked the question, “Where were you, God?”

You may have struggled as you asked, thinking that somehow you are in the wrong for questioning. I want you to know this is a safe, sacred community where we can explore these questions together.

While there are no easy answers, the fact that you are asking them is brave.

Just this past week Holley, Jennifer, and I talked with Alexandra Hoover, author of Eyes Up, on our More Than Small Talk podcast. As a young girl Alexandra’s father kicked her and her mother out of the home. They didn’t know where to sleep, what to do, or how to live safely. It was compounded by the fact that her dad’s side of the family represented a long line of pastors. Alexandra later struggled to reconcile what happened with her earthly father and the image of a loving Heavenly Father. As time passed, Alexandra’s mother struggled with her mental health under the strain. She sought help at a Christian mental health organization.

Alexandra shared, “They helped my mom, but this was where I began to find hope.”

Tracing the hand of God. . .

As an adult, Alexandra asked the question, “Where were you, God?” She didn’t want pithy answers. She didn’t want random scripture verses. She wanted to climb into her Heavenly Father’s presence and honestly talk. As she did, she says she began to “trace the hand of God.” She looked at her life, from past to present, tracing moments where she found comfort or hope or strength greater than her own. She traced his hand through ordinary but godly people that reached tangibly into her life. The story was still the same. The hard places didn’t go away, but she began to see the hand of God and his character over her life.

As she asked the hard questions, she believes God reached into her past and began to heal her present.

There are those moments where we feel God close. His comfort. His presence. We experience the supernatural that helps us take one more step, when our knees are wobbly and our emotional and spiritual legs are tired. Yet there are also moments when someone ordinary shows up, their eyes on Jesus, and God’s hand is traced through their love. I can’t help but look back at my own life and see God’s hand traced throughout. Some of those places were abusive. Hurtful. I didn’t know who I was, or where to turn. Some of those places were dire. The bad news just kept coming. And without pretending that things weren’t hard, I can trace the hand of God as well.

It makes me wonder. . .

One day when we stand in front of him, when we can see our life from backwards to forward, what will we see? His hand traced. His grief over an earthy father, an abusive broken human, sickness, loss — and how, in those moments he stirred hope in us, or courage, or peace that made no sense in the natural. Or how someone who didn’t feel like they were making a huge difference, but showed us Jesus as they showed up — at a mental health organization, in a food pantry, at the front door with a casserole and cookies, in a youth ministry, on their knees praying — and we’ll see the hand of God traced through their faithfulness.

Friends, I began my spiritual formation even as I shook my fist asking, “Where are you, God?” And somehow I felt him. I didn’t (and don’t) have all the answers, but you and I matter to God. I’m grateful we can ask the hard questions in our faith. I’m grateful we don’t have to rewrite our story and say that it was good, when it wasn’t. But I’m overwhelmed and thankful that we can trace the hand of God, and his character, even as we grieve over the hard places.

Suzie Signature


 

Listen to the entire MTST interview with Alexandra Hoover

You can listen on your favorite podcast platform or at KLRC radio. Alexandra’s episode is #274, Without Wavering. While you are there, I’d love to invite you to follow MTST. There’s a new conversation every Thursday!

Find all the ways you can listen here. 

Also, Alexandra’s book, Eyes Up: How to Trace God’s Heart by Tracing His Hand is a beautiful resource.