God, where are you?

God, where are you?

The Bible simply states that God is:

But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him." Hebrews 11:6.

God exists, and His existence is from before space and time, from before the universe that He created. With our human limitations it is difficult to describe someone who exists in a different and higher dimension. However, God has given us His thoughts in the Bible, which He tells us is His Word and which provides us with sufficient knowledge to see our responsibility to Him as our Creator. And to study  questions such as this.

God says He is everywhere:

"'Am I a God who is only close at hand?' says the Lord. 'No, I am far away at the same time.  Can anyone hide from me in a secret place?  Am I not everywhere in all the heavens and earth?'” Jeremiah 23:23-24.

One might say that He is the Everywhere: that is, the ground of everything. Two errors must be avoided: one is fatalism, that God wound up the universe like a clock and just lets it run, without taking an interest in it; the other is pantheism, that He is inseparable from His creation. This leads to the worship of rivers, trees, the sun, the moon, and even of people.

God is both transcendent, meaning that He is above His creation, and also immanent, that is, involved with His creation and His creatures. We must hold both of these attributes in balance.

God is invisible yet has revealed Himself to us in three ways. First, through His creation; second, through His written word, the Bible, and finally, through His Son, Jesus Christ, who entered into the world of time and space. By taking on humanity, He lived, died on a cross, was raised from the dead, and returned to a place called heaven in a spiritual body not limited in any way. Heaven is away from the earth:

"Men of Galilee, why do you stand gazing up into heaven? This same Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will so come in like manner as you saw Him go into heaven” Acts 1:11

In heaven, the Lord Jesus sits on the throne of the universe, and will one day return to judge all things.  For those who choose to believe, there is also a fourth means of revelation; that is the Holy Spirit who  comes to us at the moment of belief.

When Jesus was on earth, He told us that God will reveal Himself to those who love Him and further, that He, with the Holy Spirit and the Father, will live in the lives of Christian believers.

“Those who accept my commandments and obey them are the ones who love me. And because they love me, my Father will love them. And I will love them and reveal myself to each of them."

Jesus does not reveal Himself in the same way to those who reject Him:

Judas (not Judas Iscariot, but the other disciple with that name) said to him, “Lord, why are you going to reveal yourself only to us and not to the world at large?” John 14:21-22

There are times when God veils himself from us, and even the most mature believers cry out, “God are you there?”

The apostle Paul lists some famous names from throughout biblical history in what is often referred to as the "Honour Roll of Faith": individuals who were commended for their faith in God. Yet, the Bible records many moments of doubt when God appears not to be listening to them. Like these famous Bible characters we too must learn that God is always there and working - even in those darkest moments of trial and doubt.

King David, a man whom God himself describes as a "man after his own heart," wrote passionate Psalms, pouring out his heart to God in times of great distress.

A good question to ask oneself on a regular basis is, "How much do I trust God?" To God, our personal faith in Him is his most treasured possession, for surely our faith is a practical expression of our love for Him. The Bible intimates that the exact opposite of fear is love. God reinforces this theme when He says, "But my righteous one will live by faith. And if he shrinks back, I will not be pleased with him."

Knowing that God does in fact hear all our prayers (offered in faith), do we still trust Him when he delays his answer until the fifty-ninth second of the fifty-ninth minute of the eleventh hour? Do we still trust Him when the answer is, "No"? Do you believe that God continues to love you intensely, even in times of great trial? As many have found out for themselves: prayer may not change our circumstances but it does provide peace in those circumstances.

Does God hear [respond to] the prayers of an "unbeliever"? The simple answer is "no". God looks at the heart and will not turn away anyone who comes to Him in true humility. Faith is a gift from God and one that He wants us to fully utilize, but God knows and understands our weaknesses. As one famous but unnamed character in the Bible exclaimed, "I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!"  As someone wisely observed, "When we're down to nothing - God's up to something!"

There is a very famous poem, Footsteps in the Sand, that dramatically brings to life the reality of our walk of faith. It reminds us that even as we walk through the valley, and even encounter dips in the valley, God carries us along.

Footprints in the Sand

One night I dreamed I was walking along the beach with the Lord. Many scenes from my life flashed across the sky. In each scene I noticed footprints in the sand. Sometimes there were two sets of footprints, other times there was one only. This bothered me because I noticed that during the low periods of my life, when I was suffering from anguish, sorrow or defeat, I could see only one set of footprints, so I said to the Lord, “You promised me Lord, that if I followed you, you would walk with me always. But I have noticed that during the most trying periods of my life there has only been one set of footprints in the sand. Why, when I needed you most, have you not been there for me?” The Lord replied, “The years when you have seen only one set of footprints, my child, is when I carried you.”  Mary Stevenson, 1936

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