“Now, therefore,” says the LORD,
“Turn to Me with all your heart,
With fasting, with weeping, and with mourning.”
So rend your heart, and not your garments;
Return to the LORD your God,
For He is gracious and merciful,
Slow to anger, and of great kindness;
And He relents from doing harm.
Who knows if He will turn and relent,
And leave a blessing behind Him—
A grain offering and a drink offering
For the LORD your God?
Blow the trumpet in Zion,
Consecrate a fast,
Call a sacred assembly;
Gather the people,
Sanctify the congregation,
Assemble the elders,
Gather the children and nursing babes;
Let the bridegroom go out from his chamber,
And the bride from her dressing room.
Let the priests, who minister to the LORD,
Weep between the porch and the altar;
Let them say, “Spare Your people, O LORD,
And do not give Your heritage to reproach,
That the nations should rule over them.
Why should they say among the peoples,
‘Where is their God?’ ”
Then the LORD will be zealous for His land,
And pity His people. (Joel 2:12-18)
“Where is God?” A common question in the midst of a disaster. In the case of Israel, the question might arise as outsiders witnessed the destruction of his chosen people at the hands of the Babylonians or some other invader. Through Joel, God called upon his people to repent whole-heartedly, to respond to the punishment so that he could restore them and silence those who wondered about what was happening, who might imagine that the suffering of his chosen ones meant that he wasn’t there, had rejected them, or for some reason had abandoned them.
When God’s people finally repented, the outsiders would witness their restoration and their return to glory. Instead of asking, “where is God”, they would finally realize, “oh, well there He is!”
People do not wonder where God is when times are good. Instead, they exclaim praises and thanks and shout that “God is good,” and “behold the hand of God,” and “see how God moves.” No one, facing happiness, asks “why me?” or “where is God?” For some reason, God seems easier to recognize in the good times than in the bad.