Thursday, August 17, 2017

Where is God (Aching)?

My assumption is that some consideration has been given to the logic that leads to the answer of, “Where is God?”  I’ve discovered a new aspect of God in my life recently, one that is much more emotional in a personal way than I’ve experienced before.  God has always loved poor people and hated war in my eyes.  I’ve understood him from a large sweeping, generalized, universal standpoint.  Was it personal? Well, of course, in a way.  It was personal that Jesus saved me and yada yada, however, I think God is such a big idea that it’s difficult for us to perceive him personally, unless something does actually happen in our lives.  Based on our experiences in life we begin to build a context, for which we place God in, and sometimes that can be unhealthy or even incorrect, but that always leads me back to asking people to consider how they came to those conclusions.  All that to say this, there is a word that plays over in over in my mind and heart recently that describes God, for me, where I am right now, and that word is ache.
Ache.  Such a simple word, but is heavy and deep.  What does it mean to ache?  What does it feel like to be aching from something? 

In the bible there are phrases and imagery used of aching like, moaning and hurting down to the bone marrow or joints.  Bone marrow is the imagery used to express the depths of a person, the deepest parts.  The aching I am referring to is something that eats at you at the deepest level, which some would argue is your soul.  Aching is pain that hurts your being, your soul, a deep pain.  There is nothing you can do about it, no medicine to numb the pain, and nothing big or loud enough to distract you from how painful this thing is that is aching your bones and soul away.  It’d be like a mother losing an infant child to death’s cold grips.  This kind of aching mother is the God I now have become familiar with. Often times we are taught about a God who looks around at all the bad in the world and is angry or impatient.  All too often we personalize that and begin to feel certain things do or don’t happen to us because of God’s disapproval. This leads us down a cynical and dark path though, one where the loving aspect of God as a father is lost and we embrace this distant, unrelated, deity that we cannot touch or even relate to.  This turns the world awfully small and cold.  The kind of aching I’m talking about is when tears stream down your face and you cannot control nor describe why they flow.  The seat you occupy gets deeper and deeper as you sink into this numb feeling of pain.  Logically something may make perfect sense, but just going through it hurts so bad because there was or is a loss so large or deep that it impacts your soul.  I think aching only happens when there is something that impacts you at your depths. 

God aches.  Experiencing a God who is not disappointed or angry or saying you should have tried harder or been better, a God that doesn’t hold you to a standard (unfortunately there is a large population that misunderstands and therefore teaches a particular verse that says we should be perfect), but a God who aches with and for you., experiencing a God like that is, well, relieving.  Knowing that you can cry, you can hurt, and you can moan in agony without any repercussions or judgment is something special.  God aches for us and with us, that’s the God I’ve experienced recently.  While I cannot tell you of any deep prayer time or bible reading I can tell you of the feeling of an aching God’s presence.  So hurt, moan, and ache, it’s something we need to go through.  Jesus wept when a dear friend died whom he had total control and power to bring back to life.  Why did He weep?  I think Jesus wept because he ached for the pain he saw in people he loved.  Jesus wept.  God aches.  There is peace in that.  Shalom.


  1. I was just pondering this passage yesterday that "Jesus wept." As I was preparing to lead the Bible study discussion for 40ish Tech football players. Some hurts in our lives are so deep that the only hope that even Jesus weeps. Ended up going a different direction but I am grateful that isn't the only part of the redemptive message.

    1. Thanks for the comment Aaron. I think often people look for answers and get frustrated, but what is most helpful is the idea that God aches with you and doesn't want the pain for you either. Empathy is better than resolution in certain times.