One of my earliest memories is lying in my crib next to my sister. I think I had woken up because I was cold. It was quiet and I remember looking out a window and seeing bare, black branches against a red sky. The room was dark, but the door was slightly ajar, letting in a strip of light. I’m not sure if I cried, but I remember feeling incredibly lonely. I remember just wanting someone to come in and see that I was awake. Even now as an adult, I try not to recall the level of desolation that I felt.
This was not the first or last time I would feel alone, as well as scared and lost. Its hard to believe, but I remember many things from my early childhood, some things worse than just waking up with no one there to hold me. There were many faces and many homes that passed in and out of my life before I found my way into my true family.
My time of suffering was short and certainly not as severe as others have endured. But it all happened in the first few years of my life, it certainly has left its mark. When I was younger, I avoided thinking about the past and any conversations that came up about it made me uncomfortable. I did pray for certain people, but I never really faced my memories in prayer with God. I did have faith though, that God would ask me to deal with my past wounds, but at the right time.
Now, as I have become a parent, that time has grown closer. Having a child who cries for me from his crib urges me to run faster to let him know I’m there. At the same time, I worry I will fall short as a mother, due to my lack of opportunities to bond with anyone early on. I am not fully ready to confront these things fully, but one question has been posed to me by those that guide me.
Where was Jesus in these sufferings?
I had never considered this before being asked, but it has now brought back all those memories, but in a bittersweet way. I was confused as to why God would just stand by me while I, a small child, went through these things. I searched for Him and could not find Him in any tangible manner. By faith, I had to know that He was there, but I couldn’t say why. Then I looked at the way Jesus suffered.
He hung there on the cross, totally undeserving of what had been done to Him. He is the Son of God! His Father had every opportunity to deliver Him from such hideous inhumanity. But instead, Christ hung there for three hours. But something Sonja Corbitt says in her podcast, The Bible Evangelista, made me ponder my experiences in a new light. God was present in His mother. He was present in His most beloved apostle. He was present in a woman touched by sin. And they stood there gazing at Jesus. They did not yell or fight or try to stop the nails from going in. But in the face of such cruel suffering, they stood by His side so He would not be alone. And His Heavenly Father was with Him, as Christ secured salvation for all humanity.
This is how God chooses to be present in the sufferings and crosses we all bear. These pains are the effects of our early separation from God, but He has made sure that none of our lamentings will be in vain. The Passion, Crucifixion, and Resurrection of Christ is the ultimate promise that God will not only be at our side but that our sufferings will be the perfect guiding force towards a complete union with Him. Our Heavenly Father only asks that we try to recognize His presence at our darkest points.
I realize that this is easier said than done. I have started to recognize God in the difficult points in my life, but I admit that there times when He seems to be nowhere in sight. There are also times when I know He is listening, but I cannot express my aches and pains. It is then that I take comfort in knowing that I can simply surrender my burdens to His Mercy and remember the ageless promise He made to His people:
“For I know the thoughts that I think towards you, saith the Lord, thoughts of peace, and not of affliction, to give you an end and patience. And you shall call upon me, and you shall go: and you shall pray to me, and I will hear you. You shall seek me, and shall find me: when you shall seek me with all your heart.”