God doesn’t abandon us, even when we can’t sense Him there.
But if I go to the east, he is not there; If I go to the west, I do not find him.
When he is at work in the north, I do not see him;
when he turns to the south, I catch no glimpse of him. But he knows the way that I take;
when he has tested me, I will come forth as gold.
How can God be omnipresent and at the same time be so difficult to find? Have you ever had times when you wanted to see God and be close to Him, but it just didn’t happen? That was Job’s experience. In these verses, Job said that he was actively seeking out God, but the results were discouraging. In the end though, Job’s desires for God were fulfilled. But clearly, the timing is God’s. And for us the emptiness of the search is a reality and part of the journey. Maturity doesn’t usually happen without trials, including the one described in the following story.
Gerald Sittser lost his mom, wife and daughter in a car accident. In his book, A Grace Disguised, Sittser writes, “Loss may call the existence of God into question. Pain seems to conceal him from us, making it hard for us to believe that there could be a God in the midst of our suffering. In our pain we are tempted to reject God…we wrestle in our souls to believe.” Can you imagine that? Gerald lost three generations of the women he loved in his family in one car crash. He writes about what he has learned: “I don’t think I will ever be able to comprehend God’s sovereignty…I have made peace with his sovereignty and have found comfort in it. It is no longer odious to me.”
This is an incredible perspective that Gerald shares: God doesn’t abandon us, even when we can’t sense Him there. This confidence in God allows Gerald to move forward in life, knowing he is not alone. The Bible says that there are times in our lives when God just carries us (Exodus 19:4, Deuteronomy 1:31, Isaiah 40:11, and Isaiah 63:9). There are other times when we are at a crossroad in life, and God wants us to continue to walk forward in the direction He guides (Isaiah 30:21). His whisper is the reassurance our ears are longing to hear! As we choose to continue along the path with Him in spite of pain, we bring Him glory. We learn that His grace is not just for our present situation, He goes before us with grace into our future.
Excerpt republished with permission from Rooted in Grace by Jesse Bradley c. 2012.