He has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” (Hebrews 13:5)
God wants us to firmly grasp the truth that that whatever circumstances may indicate we must believe, on the basis of His promise, that He has not forsaken us or left us to mercy of of those circumstances.
We never lose Gods presence and help, but we may sometimes lose the sense of them. Job, in his distress, could not find God. He said, “Behold, I go forward, but he is not there, and backward, but I do not perceive him; on the the left hand when he is working, I do not behold him; he turns to the right hand but I do not see him. Then he added: “ but he knows the way that I take; when he has tried me. I shall come out as gold”. (Job 23: 8- 10). Job apparently wavered as we do between trust and doubt. Here he says he couldn’t find God anywhere; God had completely withdrawn the comforting sense of His presence. But though he couldn’t see Him, Job believed God was watching over him and would bring him through that trail as purified gold.
You and I will sometimes have the same experience as Job – perhaps not in the same kind of intensity of suffering, but in the seemingly inability to find God anywhere. God will seem to hide Himself from us. Even the prophet Isaiah said to God on one occasion, “Truly, you are a God who hides Himself, O God of Israel the Savior”
We should learn from Job and Isaiah so that we are not totally surprised and dismayed when, in the time of distress we can’t seem to find God. At these times we must cling to His bare but invisible promise, “I will never leave you nor for sake you”. God may hide Himself from our sense of His presence, but he never allows our adversities to hide us from Him.
One of the best indicators of our relationship with God is trust. Trust is what we do when we are going through a trying time without understanding. There are times in life when we wonder why and the heavens seem silent and it’s as though God has gone on vacation. When God is silent the measure of our trust stems from our knowledge of His love for us. It is in these moments that the devil comes to accuse God or to pressure us to question His love. When the Israelites were on the journey through the wilderness we read that at almost every adversity they questioned the love of God and whether God and Moses had teamed up to destroy them. The very one, Satan the destroyer persuaded them that God had brought them from slavery to let them die in the wilderness, never experiencing the land of promise. His strategy hasn’t changed. From the moment you give your life to Christ and the devil sees that he is no longer your master, he begins his strategy to break up the relationship with God. In adversity, whatever the source and cause, he entices us to question the love and grace of God. His two-pronged attack of making us feel worthless and undeserving of the love and grace of God and the adversity is a result of some sin including the past ones that we’ve confessed and have been put under the blood. When we somehow can know that it’s not because we are perfect or in some way have earned the love of God, the liberty of that knowledge breaks the power of the devil’s accusation. As soon as that happens the devil shifts strategies to accuse God of not caring. And if somehow he can cause us to question the love and care of God, he will entice us to draw away from God or to try in some way to force God to display His care for us. This usually comes in the form of insisting that God prove Himself by answering our prayer.
In any relationship trust is more powerful than love. You may love someone but if you can’t trust them the relationship somehow sours. Your heart may have feelings but the turmoil of broken trust eats away at our love. In human relationships, broken trust is usually the results of the actions that cause mistrust. It may be a word given but not kept, a promise made but unfulfilled or a violation of loyalty. This is an understandable reason for mistrust. But when it comes to God, there is no record of Him ever failing to keep His word. As matter of fact the Bible tells us that not one word that God speaks fails to come to pass. All of the promises of God are true and certain and every promise he has made has always come to pass. I was reminded of this recently as I was driving and saw the most incredible rainbow in the sky. God promised Noah that the earth would never be destroyed again by water and gave the rainbow as the sign of that promise and sure enough it hasn’t. God promised Adam and Eve a redeemer and in the “fullness of time” Christ came. Every time we bring our burdens, sins and problems to God, He never reveals our secrets. We know we can go to God in confidence without fear that He will turn us away.
Because of all this, we know that even in adversity, when our understanding is dark and life seems upside down, we can trust God. We may not have words to speak in prayer or faith to believe but we can trust. We can hold on to the word, the promises and the care of God with trust in His love that was proven on Calvary. Whenever you doubt the love of God for you or that He will bring you through the adversity, turn your face to Calvary, behold the Savior giving His life for you and trust that the God who loved you enough to crucify His Son on your behalf also loves you enough to bring you through your adversity.
Dr. John Thompson