God Trusts Me with His Absence

It is understandable to assume that when something good is happening it means God showed up, but when something bad happens, well, we just aren’t quite sure where He is. Western Christians, especially, tend to easily connect the dots between our blessings and the blesser himself. When the blessing is lacking, though, we quickly scramble to make the necessary spiritual adjustments. Darkness

I can read threads of Facebook messages and quickly agree and throw my own amen to the obvious conclusion that, “God showed up,” when praise is given for that negative test result for cancer. Or that, “God is still on is throne,” as dozens celebrate that rebellious teen who finally came to his senses and returned home.

I have braved through the book of Ezekiel recently and noticed another thread of conversation, this one a private one, between God and His prophet. I captured an unusual tone about twenty chapters in. God keeps saying things to Ezekiel like, “I will remove them from their land: then they will know I exist.” “I will hurt them: then they will know I love them.” “The enemy will swoop them into captivity: then they will know I am the one who has been caring for them.” Or, this really gripping warning to an enemy of Israel, “I will destroy you, and you will know I am the LORD.” (25:7). This clashes with our expectation that God will show up by doing something good for us. In these cases, he tells us how good he is by doing something not so good for us.

I have recently added to my understanding and appreciation of the way Jesus works this observation, how often He will take something away from us: sometimes He will allow us to experience pain: sometimes He will ask us to carry a heavier burden simply because He does love us. Withholding blessing can also be proof of His love for us, and the evidence of his sovereignty over our lives. It can be His way of saying, “I am going to show you that I am in control, and the best way for you to capture that, is by me taking something from you. It is my way of getting you to look to me. It is my way of letting you know, I care enough to trust you with my absence.”

Who do you admire more? The person who trust Jesus when everything is going well; or, the person who remains faithful when everything has been taken from him?

“Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return. The LORD gave, and the LORD has taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD.            (Job 1:21 ESV)

Either way, why don’t you praise Him today.

Our faith develops most strongly and God is most glorified most fully when we feel only his absence, when every trace of His presence vanishes and our resolve to trust continues. Larry Crabb (Real Church)

5 thoughts on “God Trusts Me with His Absence”

  1. Awesome look at this Mitch! Your experience helps guide me daily. You’ve been a great friend and mentor as I have worked through God’s challenges over the last twenty years.

    These words help confirm to me that He loves me and wants me to grow and glorify his name!

    Blessings

  2. Mitch, this is right on…. You know our family story (history) and I have spent my share of time in “God’s waiting room”. Now that He has taken me through periods of silence before, I know He still loves me and is looking at what is in my best interest for His good purpose. I enjoy the “every thing going my way” feeling but He knows what is best for me and how He is going to use it for His glory. So I look to see if “God is in it” which means I’m doing His will as He use me for His good purpose. Even being in the “God’s waiting room” is part of His good purpose and He is working on others to be at a point of our contact, thus Paul tells us to rejoice always.

    You hit a nerve not only for me but the real reason why God wants to use us and we can point others to Him for his glory. It is our act of worship in our daily life. May God keep using you for His good purpose. Amen.

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