I’ve sometimes wondered aloud, “God, where are you?” It’s usually in the middle of a mess. Tears running down my face and desperation written all over my heart. It’s in those moments where I’m most needing to hear from God that it feels like He is completely silent, unaware, busy solving some other problem. That’s got to be it, my less than rational mind decides.
They say, “the Lord does not see; the God of Jacob pays no heed.” Take heed, you senseless ones among the people; you fools, when will you become wise? Does he who implanted the ear not hear? Does he who formed the eye not see? Does he who disciplines nations not punish? Does he who teaches man lack knowledge? The Lord knows the thoughts of man; he knows that they are futile. Blessed is the man you discipline, O Lord, the man you teach from your law; Psalm 94:7-12 (NIV)
They think, “God isn’t looking, Jacob’s God is out to lunch.” Well, think again, you idiots, fools – how long before you get smart? Do you think Ear-Maker doesn’t hear, Eye-Shaper doesn’t see? Do you think the trainer of nations doesn’t correct, the teacher of Adam doesn’t know? God knows, all right – knows your stupidity, sees your shallowness. How blessed the man you train, God, the woman you instruct in your Word, Psalm 94: 7-12 (MSG)
The times when I perceive God to be silent, are actually dangerous moments. My ears are turned off to God’s gentle whispers. I have no intent to listen. My mouth is ranting. Frankly, God can’t get a word in edgewise because I’m too busy filling up all the space.
The times when God seems to be silent are also precious moments. When I eventually get to the end of myself, I am reminded that God is with me – all the time. He has never left me or abandoned me. He has never cast me aside because something is bigger or more time consuming than I am. He has never shut me out because he is just done with me. (If anything, I’ve felt those things towards Him and I’ve been the one ready to toss in the towel).
Instead, God continues to pursue and even uses a little sarcasm from the Psalmist to get my attention, too. My God is the One who made the ear. He knows all of its parts and complexity because He fashioned it. He won’t turn His ears off. He hears. He listens. He is the maker of the eye – with an iris for colour, a lens to focus and muscles I would never have thought of. If He is the One who makes the eye, how could I accuse Him of not seeing the experiences that come my way?
So often the moments where I have felt God’s distance are all about my perception and nothing to do with the reality that God is nearer than I can imagine or understand. Events in my life may surprise me, nothing surprises Him! He hears. He sees. He does not change circumstances on my whim or schedule. His timing is more perfect than I could ever know or understand. All I have to do is look back and see His faithfulness written all over my life. He’s right there in the thick of it. I want to see His presence. I want to hear His words. There is nothing more precious.