DayBreaks for 1/28/14 – When God Is AWOL – Disappointment #3
Hebrews 13:5-6 (MSG) – Don’t be obsessed with getting more material things. Be relaxed with what you have. Since God assured us, “I’ll never let you down, never walk off and leave you,” 6 we can boldly quote, God is there, ready to help; I’m fearless no matter what. Who or what can get to me?
I have known many believers who have grown incredibly disappointed with God and His perceived absence or lack of involvement in a time of struggle or suffering. It just doesn’t seem to ring true with the promise of God, does it? You may have experienced it yourself. Psalm 139:7-12 tells us that it is impossible for us to escape from His Presence, right? But the fact He is everywhere and always everywhere doesn’t mean we’ll sense His Presence. It seems that our experience of God in this world is as much an experiencing of His absence as His presence.
Why do we experience this? One reason is the way sin has intruded into Divine and human relationships. We would do well to remember that it was Adam and Eve who fled from His presence, not the other way around. God came seeking out those two sinners! It isn’t God who wants to maintain a safe distance from mankind, but we humans who seek that distance. While our relationship with one another and God were not entirely destroyed by sin, it was twisted. And it was our doing that has erected the walls to keep God at bay.
Absence, is, after all, a normal part of any and all relationships. Anthony Bloom noted that we often employ a mechanical approach that tries to force God to show us His presence by drawing near. When we do that, however, he suggests that our efforts have more to do with idolatrous worship than the worship of the Living God: “We can do that with an image, with the imagination, or with the various idols we put in front of us instead of God; we can do nothing of the sort with the living God, any more than we can do it with a living person.”
Is it always the case that the sense of God’s absence is brought about by human shortcoming and sin? I think not. I think we shouldn’t be surprised that mere mortals cannot always detect His presence. If we can’t always detect the presence of another human in our home for example, what makes us think we will always be able to detect the Presence of One who is invisible?
We believe He is real, yet we’ve never seen Him. We believe He is real because of the evidence of creation and the Word. We believe He is good because He has told us He is, in spite of disasters and disease. We believe He is eternal and hasn’t died because He has told us He is eternal. We believe He can’t be tempted with sin and that is it impossible for Him to lie to us. So on what basis would we not believe His promise about His Presence, too? We may not see Him, we may not “feel” Him, we may not “hear” Him, but that doesn’t mean He isn’t closer to us than our own skin.
It is a call for the demonstration of faith. And all who come to God must come through faith!
PRAYER: In the hours and moments of isolation and aloneness, let our faith in Your promised Presence hold strong! In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Copyright 2014 by Galen C. Dalrymple.
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