If you have ever found yourself asking the question ‘where is God?’ consider the following thought. Is it possible that for some of us, the reason we can ask why God is absent is because at some other point we thought we knew were he was? That is to say at some other point in time we most likely felt Him, or more appropriately thought we felt His favour when life was better. We often attribute anything that we experience as good as some sort of token nod from God that all must be good, or even that we are in good standing. That is why those with obscene wealth often consider their net worth a sign of God’s approval.
But perhaps God doesn’t bless people with money, or even health, or good fortune. Maybe God is the sunlight that shines on it all. God is the air we breath, not the just food we eat. In this way the same God is in the lungs of the financial tycoon as in the lungs of the patient on life support. One person may perhaps use that air to take advantage financially and accumulate millions of dollars while the other is merely trying to survive. Could this be what Jesus meant when he said that God causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous? This is described as God’s mercy. Which seems to be always available.
Perhaps it is just in the contrast that we feel mercy diminished. Someone else who doesn’t seem to deserve the spoils of life has more than enough while you struggle having only ever tried to do the right thing, the generous thing. But without the contrast, without the comparison what is our argument. Or to use our own dilemma against us, is it possible that at any given time there might be someone who would envy your situation no matter how dire because in their perspective it seems better?
But then something happens, something changes. Like storm clouds rolling in, you notice the decreasing presence of sunlight over the increasing presence of grey. This is were this metaphor breaks down because truthfully the sun still shines as bright as it always did, it’s radiance merely blocked by clouds. Just because we can’t see or feel its warmth on our skin does not mean it has left. Truthfully it is still affecting all we see, even when it is hidden from our view.
The dilemma is perhaps that our perception of God has been so limiting. Is God really the one who is allowing your business to prosper, or your health to remain vibrant? Are those things directly related to God’s favour on your specific life? This is an adequate explanation if your experiencing favour. But how do you explain this to those who are not as fortunate with their health or wealth? Even more poignant is the sting of contrast when you go from feeling pretty blessed to cursed.
Perhaps in those moments when we feel something has changed and we feel distant and far from God. In those moments when we feel like crying out ‘where have you gone and why did you leave?’ Perhaps the better question is ‘what do you look like now?’ What shape have you taken. Like the sun that doesn’t stop shining even in the 12 hours of darkness overnight it still governs the world. Part of our problem is we want things to stay the same, but they don’t. Things change, we age, we grow, we experience new things that forever alter who we are. This is all good, yet we expect to find God as we left him. We expect to find God now, the way we found him in our college years providing everything we thought we needed. But now we find ourselves praying aloud the same scriptures we did 25 years ago to no avail.
What if it isn’t that God changes, but merely just never appears the same way twice.
We are the ones who change. So perhaps a better question is ‘Where has God gone?’,or ‘What dies God look like in my life now?’.
And thank goodness God doesn’t appear the same, it requires us to keep our eyes open to catch a glimpse of what He is up to. If God always showed up the same way that would put him behind us, but no…God is always on the move and that makes him ahead of us leading the way.
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