“Elvis has left the building.”
Ever feel that way about God?
- Maybe it was a dark period in your life—or a bout of depression—and you wondered where God was.
- Maybe you needed direction on a decision, yet God was silent.
- Maybe you felt like your prayers were going no further than the ceiling.
I can get all theological and expound on God’s omnipresence. He is everywhere at the same time. God wouldn’t be much of a God if He was limited to one place. So, yes, God is everywhere, but …
… God can still feel hidden.
Sin in our lives can certainly be a reason for the absence of God. God’s Word is clear on this. In warning the Israelites of what would happen if they sinned, He said, “I will certainly hide my face in that day because of all their wickedness” (Deut. 31:18). And that is exactly what He did. Through Ezekiel, God later said, “I dealt with them according to their uncleanness and their offenses, and I hid my face from them” (Ezek. 39:24).
Examine your heart. If you’re got unconfessed sin, deal with it. And move forward in God’s forgiveness and mercy.
“Whoever conceals their sins does not prosper, but the one who confesses and renounces them finds mercy” (Prov. 28:13).
But is unconfessed sin the only reason God can seem hidden? No. Even David, the man after God’s own heart, often called out for the presence of God.
- “Why, Lord, do you stand far off? Why do you hide yourself in times of trouble?” (Ps. 10:1)
- “How long, Lord? Will you forget me forever? How long will you hide your face from me?” (13:1).
- “My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When can I go and meet with God?” (42:2).
I can’t give you the answer why God often seems hidden, but I can say with absolute confidence that God wants to be found by us. Perhaps God’s “absence” in those moments is to remind us how much we really need Him; we are reminded of our dependence on Him.
We’ve all played hide-and-seek, but my two favorite versions of hide-and-seek were ones I played as an adult.
During my student ministry days, I would play “sardines” with the youth group, a reverse form of hide-and-seek. Only one person hides, and everyone else goes looking for him. When you find the person, you hide with him. Eventually the whole youth group will be huddled together in one spot until that one straggler finds the group.
But my favorite way to play hide-and-seek was when my sons were preschoolers. If I wanted to hide—I mean, really hide—I could. Thirty years later they would still be looking for me. But I always hid in obvious places. I wanted to be found. I loved the look on their faces when they found me.
I wonder if that’s what God does with us sometimes. Yes, His presence may not be obvious to us, but He wants to be found.
- “I love those who love me, and those who seek me find me” (Prov. 8:17).
- “ You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart” (Jer. 29:13).
Maybe God is hiding in plain sight, and we just need to look for Him.
Look around you right now and look for the color red. Count how many items you see that contain red. You have now become aware of the “redness” of your surroundings. Red was present in the room before you started this exercise; you just weren’t looking for it or thinking about it.
God is with you, too, whether you are aware of His presence or not. Look for Him. You may become aware of His presence in the words of a friend, a small “circumstantial” event as you drive, and maybe even in reading this blog.
God is here.