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Looking For God In Tough Times

Looking For God In Tough Times

A friend of mine answered the call to go and serve as a missionary in Africa. After years of making little progress in evangelizing his village, both he and his wife started having health issues. Then his daughter had physical problems. When his world started closing in around him, he found himself asking God why bad things were happening to a man who gave his life and the life of his family for missions. Where was God?

It's hard to think of my friend's story and not think of another guy who watched life go from good to bad.

Job lost everything. His world didn't just close in around him. It crumbled. He, too, wanted to know where God was in his time of need. When God showed up, Job soon realized that in spite of his immense suffering, the most profound part of his experience was that he had seen God. Job could then say,

"My ears had heard of you but now my eyes have seen you. Therefore I despise myself and repent in dust and ashes."--Job 42:5-6

When life takes you to the end of your rope, so to speak, it is at that point that our only hope of enduring or surviving is God. Years after his work in Africa my missionary friend summed up his experience this way:

"You will never know God is all you need until God is all you have."

This refrain could be true as well for many of us in youth ministry. Many of us find ourselves in situations that are extremely trying. Things happen that make us wonder why God called us to where we are. We can even doubt that we were ever called at all! In the midst of these times, remember that God is still God. Nothing about your circumstances surprised Him or caught Him off guard. He knows where you are, and He knows what you need. Look for Him. He's there.

About The Author

Richard Parker

Richard Parker

Richard Parker is the resident youth ministry guru at ym360. Richard has served as a youth minister for the past 36 years. ("Shockingly, he was Les' youth minister yet STILL decided to stay in ministry"!) He is currently co-pastor and student minister at a new church plant, Branches Church, in Russellville, AL. Richard serves as a special projects editor and staff writer. Richard wrote ym360's "REACH: A 6 Lesson Study on the Book of Psalms" and has contributed on all of their ongoing curriculum projects. He's also written many of ym360's free lessons, devotions, and blog posts. He and his wife Amy have two daughters, Lauren and Leah, and one granddaughter.