“Momma! Momma! There’s a storm outside!” Little Jimmy ran to his mother’s room, tears pouring down his face like the rain pounding outside the windows.
“Momma! I saw a big flash in the sky and…”
His mother hugged Jimmy in a big bear hug, and he whimpered into her clothes.
“My little Jimmy, it’s okay. Momma’s got you. That raging storm can’t touch you in my arms. You’re safe here.”
Rumbling thunder was thrown into the mix of pittering rain.
“But, Momma, how can you know for sure that we’re safe?”
“Jimmy, I know for a fact that God is bigger than the storm. I have faith that he will bring us to safety. He has provided in the past, so I know that he will provide in the future. He will sustain us and keep us safe.” Jimmy’s mother began to stroke his black hair.
“But… how do you know he hasn’t left us… like when daddy left us…?”
She breathed deeply at the memory of John.
“Well, Jimmy, God has promised many times in the Bible that he will never leave us or forsake us. Sometimes, we just need to trust him, trust that he has a plan in the midst of chaos. I know that he loves us, and I trust that he will never leave us like your father did.”
The two of them sat silently as the rain tapped on the roof, no longer pounding.
Thirty years later…
Jim sat alone in his apartment, rubbing at the knot in his neck. Two more people died today in the hospital, one older gentleman, and one child.
“I wonder how long this disease will torture us,” Jim thought aloud. “It’s been several years, and it seems like more people die every day.”
With a sigh, he looked over at his mother’s picture on his dresser. Underneath in gold lettering, there was her favorite Bible verse. He knew Psalm 46:1 by heart, “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.”
Sorrow and pain flooded his heart.
Where was God’s strength when she died?
Where was God’s refugee when his father left him because of addiction?
Where was God’s help when his niece ended her precious life?
Where was he when this disease broke out?
Where was God?
His mind felt ready to explode.
His phone buzzed, and he answered it, thankful for a distraction.
“Hey Jim! What’s up man?”
“Hey Rob. I’m doing fine. Why’d you call at this time of night?”
“Well, I just wanted to remind you that tomorrow’s Sunday, and I’m hoping you’ll come to church with us this week. You gotta give it a try, maybe just this once?”
Jim rubbed his temple, easing the headache away.
“Rob, I just can’t. I just… I need some time off.”
“Aw, come on, Jim! We’d really appreciate your company!”
“Rob, I…I don’t want to go to church! I just don’t! Church is just a club for Christians every Sunday! It’s all a bunch of conspiracy! We don’t even have evidence that God is real! Where is he now, Rob? Where is he?!”
Silence filled the line for a moment.
“I don’t want to hear it, Rob. Leave me alone! Do you even know what sorrow is?!” Prompted by the anger and resentment in his heart, he hung up on his close friend.
He slammed the phone onto his bed, and sat there, weeping.
Where was God?
Lazily, Sunday morning rolled around. Jim yawned as he crawled out of bed. Groggily, he made a piece of toast and a glass of milk. He ate his breakfast alone, like usual, as he stared out at the city below him. It was unusually quiet this morning; even the chirpy birds were nowhere to be seen. The streets were nearly empty, besides the occasional homeless people living out of tents.
Jim swallowed his toast as a guilty pocket welled up in his chest.
Am I supposed to be somewhere…?
Suddenly, a crash resonated through this small apartment, coming from his tiny bedroom.
What in the world was that?
Jim rushed toward his bedroom.
There on the bed was a simple black cat who had come in through the open window. Pieces of a cheap vase were scattered on the floor.
The cat, sensing trouble, smoothly leaped off and scrambled under the bed.
Jim let out a sigh.
“What has my life come to? I get angry at my close friend and have a near heartache from a cat.” He shook his head and walked back to the table. He flipped the TV on to the News channel, a typical Sunday morning habit.
The man in a pricey suit continued to talk about the increase of rioting and carjacks in their city. How Watton was succumbing to violence, destruction, and death.
“If there is a God, why does he let so many bad things happen?”
To be continued.