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Monday, June 25

Dear God, Where Are You?

“Mom, I didn’t make it. Please pray for me. I just feel confused about God.”

My heart sank. I felt my daughter’s deep hurt. I felt it as clearly as if it were my own.

I know what it feels like to want something so badly and have that dream shut down. That door closed. That opportunity slip away.

She’d been talking about going for this special achievement at summer camp for 3 years. Every time we talked about camp, she talked about going for this achievement. But she wasn’t old enough to try until this year. Her 4th year at camp.

Finally, this was to be her year.

She met every challenge and could see the goal in sight…until the fire. She was supposed to light a camp fire with nothing but three matches, one small square of newspaper, and a few sticks of wood.

She struck the first match and held it up to the newspaper. It didn’t ignite. She struck the second match and held it up to the newspaper. It still didn’t ignite.

She stared at the third and final match. Knowing that a big part of the challenge was teaching the kids how to communicate with God and fully rely on Him, she’d been praying through every stage of the challenge. But now, she didn’t just pray-she cried out to God.

“Please help me, God. Please,” she mouthed as she struck the third match. She held the flame up to the paper once again and watched in complete disbelief. The matchstick burned but the paper did not.

As soon as the final match burned out, she lowered her head in defeat, and gave all her wood to the girls still in.

There were 9 girls going for this achievement. Six girls were crowned with the highest honor at camp for finishing the challenge. Three girls didn’t make it, including my daughter.

When I arrived at camp to pick her up a week later, she asked if we could go sit by ourselves and process this situation. What was bothering her the most wasn’t not getting the camp honor. What was bothering her the most was not experiencing God’s power like the other girls. They all had amazing stories of God answering their cries for help in amazing ways that carried them all the way through the challenge.

“Mom, I didn’t get that with God. Why?”

This was a tough question. One of those questions as a mom that you don’t want to mess up in answering.

I asked her to help me recall every step of her challenge so we could intentionally look for God’s hand. As she recalled every part, I listened intently for anything unusual and unexplainable.

And when she got to the fire, I found it. There was no reason her newspaper shouldn’t light. None at all. Everyone else’s paper lit. Hers should have. But it didn’t.

“Honey, that can only be explained by God intervening. He was there. He was listening. And we just have to trust that there was some reason you shouldn’t have continued that challenge. We may not know that reason, but we can certainly trust God was right there…protecting you…loving you…revealing His power to you.”

She put her head on my shoulder, “You really think so Mom?”

I whispered, “I know so.”

Yes, I know deep hurt. But I also know deep hope. So, I whispered it again, “Yes, sweetheart, I know so.”

Sometimes God’s power is shown as much in preventing things as it is in making them happen. We may never know why. But we can always know and trust the Who.
In times when you are disappointed or anxious, remember that God's power is shown as much in preventing things as it is in making them happen. www.lysaterkeurst.com

Discussion

  1. 59
    Crystal says:

    For the past several years I have struggled emotionally and physically. Unsure as to what is going on and not getting many answers. As a lifelong Christian I have prayed thoughout, waiting for God to interven. I am still waiting. Lately, I have begun to question if He is even listening anymore. I have had a hard time praying about other situations in my life, just thinking He isn’t going to answer anyway so why bother. Yet, I choose to believe and to continue fighting for my faith. And at this time, it feels like an all out war. Thank you for the words today. I know He is there somewhere, I just have to look for the way He is answering.

    • 60

      This blog is most inspirational. I have had rough situation to happen to me this year . I lost my father then i lost my step father then i lost my very best friend. He did not die but I realtionship did. Over the years I had so many dispointments I do not have a job I am overweight and no one wants t give me a job. I have lost friends ans some family members Then yester day I applied for my disability and they denied me too. I been rejected and let down so much that i feel hopeless and confused. I being praying for while and asking others to pray but it seems like nothing is working. You see i know God say no when he tring to protects us but when you are being said no to when need is really a hard blow. I was angry and want to die because the pain is great. I realize that that would not be the anwer either and life is precious and we should not take it for grant. I am still confused and hurt. i need help in so many ways and seem to get . will you please pray that i will get the answers i searching for and my heart change and not feel rejected by God Thank you Ingrid

      • 61

        This blog is most inspirational. I have had rough situation to happen to me this year. I lost my father then I lost my step father then I lost my very best friend. He did not die but I relationship did. Over the years I had so many disappointments I do not have a job I am overweight and no one wants to give me a job. I have lost friends and some family members then yesterday I applied for my disability and they denied me too. I been rejected and let down so much that I feel hopeless and confused. I being praying for a while and asking others to pray but it seems like nothing is working. You see I know God say no when he trying to protect us but when you are being said no to when need is really a hard blow. I was angry and want to die because the pain is great. I realize that that would not be the answer either and life is precious and we should not take it for grant. I am still confused and hurt. I need help in so many ways and seem to get. Will you please pray that I will get the answers me searching for and my heart change and not feel rejected by God Thank you Ingrid?

  2. 62
    Lisa Hensley says:

    Lysa – I so enjoy your blog that I often forward them to my husband (and several friends who have now subscribed). He enjoys your wit and message, but would prefer a male perspective. Does your husband blog or can you recommend a “male-version” of you for my husband to subscribe to? ANy help would be much appreciated! Keep up the great work!

  3. 63
    Natalie says:

    Thanks for sharing this, Lysa.
    There have been several times over the past months when I’ve been believing God for my (future) husband as I go about my day-to-day life. I’ve been approached by the wrong guys (married, separated, etc) and while I’ve declined their offer, I’ve been consistently stood up by single (not married, not dating, etc) men who I’d considered friends before they became a no-show. A young man who has expressed interest in me to both of our parents & even asked for my number, has yet to call (its been over a month already), yet he told my mom to tell me “happy birthday” over 2 weeks ago (he still hasnt called). I often wondered why God would allow people to just seemingly drop off the face of the planet (never calling again/if ever) and being so discourteous in not even telling me “why”. God has assured me that I AM worthy of a man who will keep his word, and most importantly God’s word. Sometimes, it’s important to remember that a delay is not a denial, and that sometimes a “No” is the best answer.

    You gave your daughter the support she needed, and your post has given me more encouragement than you’ll ever know. Be blessed.

  4. 64
    Teresa T says:

    It sounds like you have a fabulous relationship – with each other and the Lord.

    Sometimes it is good to not get everything we desire, even when we work for it.

    Proverbs 30:8-9
    ….
    Give me neither poverty nor wealth;
    feed me with the food I need.
    Otherwise, I might have too much
    and deny You, saying, “Who is the Lord?”
    or I might have nothing and steal,
    profaning the name of my God.

  5. 65

    I would love prayer for my marriage. With 4 children under the age of 7, one of which is adopted through DHS and has unique needs from being born addicted to heroin, severe financial loss over the past 4 years and a complicated extended family situation- our marriage has suffered tremendously. My husband who was once a leader in our church, known for his care in our marriage and a true “family man” has taken off his wedding ring, told me he no longer loves me and every couple months threatens to move out and file for divorce. He has gone back to school to get an education for a better job but in that has decided who he really needs to be is a carefree 21 year old. He now parties with college students, often gets drunk and doesnt come home all night and has had several inappropriate relationships. I have not been the wife I should have and God has shown me a new path, but I am beginning to lose hope of it being too late and would love to be lifted in prayer.

    • 66

      I will pray that the Lord will guide you thru this very difficult time in your life and give you wisdoms regarding the best way to deal with things. Seek Him and the wise counsel of your pastor or other strong leaders/believers. Bless you, Steph.

  6. 67
    melanie riggs says:

    I am reading The Resolution for Women. I just read this “So if you don’t have it-whateverit is-its because you don’t need it. You may want it, but it’s not necessary in order to accomplish what He knows is most important for your life today. Otherwise, Hr’d have given it to you. Whatever He has given or not given, He’s done for a specific reason-a reason only known to Him perhaps but one you can trust with full confidence, sight unseen.” I am waiting and anticipating the day God will bless me with a Godly husband. I can rest in Christ because at just the right time-God’s time my gift will come. Until then I bask in the love of God and pray for my future husband daily! I even write him love letters!!

  7. 68

    Thanks, Lysa! I am like your young daughter, sometimes- you would think I am old enough to know better!
    It is painful as a mom to watch the “unfairness” happen to our kids. However, my college-aged daughter is now FEARLESS! The disappointments build character and she now applies for and tries out for everything that interests her. After her disappointments in hs and middle school, she learned that “not making it” won’t kill her, so she continues on. So proud of her (can you tell?)
    Trish

  8. 69

    Posting you send each week to me via e-mail are so encouraging. This week’s really is very true. We are loosing good pastors due to stress. the lack of concern by church members. Change is all so important when it comes to reaching out. Christians forget the Pastor and his are ministers. They share a bond that the average christians doesn’t understand. I’ve seen the hurt my pastor’s wife’s face. We need to hug on , love them and PRAY for them everyday. Decisions are difficult to make and lines of communications need to stay open. Where would the family of God be without a leader to help us understand God’s commands. All church is important. Remeber the verse that says “I am the vine. Your are the branches. Apart from me you can do nothing.”

  9. 70

    Lysa,

    This sounds like it is going to be a great study. I would love to read this book with my friend Suzie. We are both kinda going through some of the same things right now and I think this book would be a great tool for the both of us.

  10. 71
    Terri Sturgeon says:

    Lysa, I am so excited for this book. It can’t come out soon enough! I would love to read this book with several friends (Becky Jo and Seva to name a few), my Wednesday night Life Group, but especially my 13 year old daughter, Amber (I’ll tell you why in a minute) and my husband, Dwight.

    My daughter Amber was mollested last summer by her best friend’s father. These last 10 months have been a real struggle for her….even more so because kids in her new school found out and have made her life extremely miserable – on top of the depression, feelings of quilt, not being able to have contact now with her best friend, parents and even a couple of teachers spreading lies about her and even 1 refusing to let her daughter play on the same softball team as my daughter because of what happened to her. This was in no way her fault, but she has been made to feel like it was by others around her. I THANK GOD Everyday for our church family! They have given us so much great support and strength. My husband has become disconnected from us, which hurts my daughter even more. I know it is because he does not know how to deal with his emotions and how to help or encourage our daughter. If he would, I believe your book could be a great help to him to get back closer with God, and us as a family. I feel so helpless because I cannot make my daughter’s pain go away, but I do encourage her in growing closer to God (which she has), and spend all of my free time (non-work time) showing her how wonderful and special she is.

    Again, I can’t wait for your book to hit the store shelves!!

  11. 72

    ” There were 9 girls going for this achievement. Six girls were crowned with the highest honor at camp for finishing the challenge. Three girls didn’t make it, including my daughter. ”

    the moment i read this paragraph, i knew. i didn’t even get through the whole story and i knew. i knew why God allowed this. i knew why your daughter was put in this position. i knew why she failed.

    out of 9 girls, 6 made it and 3 didn’t. but what if it was only one? what if only one girl failed? what if only one felt alone? what if only one felt abandoned?

    if someone had to fail, it’s so much better that one didn’t fail alone. because the pain of being the only one is much stronger than a pain that can be shared. the pain of believing that no one else knows how you feel is more intense than the hurt that can be shouldered with another. and the pain of feeling left out is so much less severe when you can look around and find a friend in the fire.

    because there’s power in friendships forged in that fire. there’s power in faith forged through trials. and there’s power in failing and YET pressing on.

    sometimes God’s greatest achievements are fueled from our greatest failures. sometimes God lets the strong become weak for a greater purpose. and sometimes God risks us wondering where He is…to bring us to a place where He needs us to go.

    to the world it may seem that three girls failed that day. but not to God.

    because His success is not determined by worldly applause.

    and it never will be.

    the minute i read your post i knew. i knew why God allowed your daughter to fail.

    not because she wasn’t good enough. not because she wasn’t prepared. not because she wasn’t loved.

    but because she was.

    He has a bigger plan for this moment than we may ever know.

    i pray that my children will always be set apart from the crowd too.

    love and peace to you my friend.

  12. 73
    Katie Young says:

    A friend raved about Becoming More so I read it before she finished it and then shared a chapter with a friend who said if it was good enough for one chapter he should (yes, he) read the whole thing and he came away wanting more – more of God. So I’m ready to read more of you for more of God…

  13. 74

    I enjoyed reading the story as I could identify with so much of it myself. I have to talk to myself so many times inorder to get strenght to move forward.One fact I do know that God is real in my life for if He had not been I wouldn’t be here on earth today. I also enjoyed reading your article on taking care of your pastor and his family as a pastor’s wife I know you are telling the truth. Keep up the good work and my God continue to bless you and your family. Let’s pray for each other. Love you!

  14. 75
    Kimberly says:

    My husband is a pastor, and we’ve been through some devastating struggles. I had a very faithful walk with the Lord until two years ago when I was totally derailed. I had an affair, filed for divorce and sent my four precious children reeling. Where was God, who was I? I was so wrapped up in myself that I couldn’t see my precious Lord and Saviour and couldn’t love my family as myself. By the grace of God, I hit rock bottom, called off the divorce and in humility came crawling back to my family and the Lord. In obedience to the Lord, my husband was there to forgive and love again. It’s a difficult process of starting over with everything and everyone. God has a job for us to do, and He will do whatever it takes to get us to reach rock bottom. He is my rock at the bottom. Things are beginning to look up, and I’m feeling like I’m finally making progress on rebuilding my faith again. He never gave up on me. In fact, He new I’d make the awful choices before I made them. We are so blessed to be loved by a God that NEVER gives up on us!!!!

  15. 76

    Lysa
    Your writings are amazing. You speak to me everytime. I am so glad I found you. I am telling everyone I know about you. You take real life and bring s spiritual lesson out of it. I stand amazed. God bless you for being obedient to him and sharing your findings with us. I could read your stories all day long if I had the time. When something speaks I journal and pray and God is healing me of so much. I wish I could tell you all about my life.

  16. 77

    This was so fitting for me today. My job has become a huge emotional drain and I have been praying for a different opportunity with less stress and allows me more time with my family. My wonderful husband spent hours last night trying to work the numbers, but the answer is I can’t quit. We depend too much on my income and his company is on the rocks. I don’t understand why God is requiring me to stay in a place that I cry driving to and from daily and get home completely exhausted depleted of any patience or energy needed for my family. But I don’t have to know the why, but the who. I don’t know how he is using this situation in our lives, big picture. I will try very hard to focus on that while I have to start saying no to some other things so I can get rest and have time for my family. But I will continue to pray for intervention. It was pretty cool he chose to pop this particular post up this morning when I hit my shortcut to your site. Thanks for sharing about God’s hand in disapointment. ~Paige