“And [one] shall say, I will wait for God, who has turned away his face from the house of Jacob, and I will trust in him. Isaiah 8:17”
This past week I have had many friends who were telling me they were feeling God distant from their lives that He seemed to be miles away. They felt as if they were alone, overwhelmed by situations, and in a dry desert.
This made me think back in my life a few years ago, when I felt the exact same thing. I felt as if I were in such a dry desert abandoned completely. Things were collapsing all around me. Financial problems were overwhelming. Friends had hurt me. Loss of loved ones in my family had torn my heart apart. Our car had been stolen. My husband was in a severe accident which kept him out of work for six months. It was one bad thing after the other. And if this wasn’t enough, I felt that God was distant, that He wasn’t there. That he had abandoned me.
It so easy to Praise God when all things are going well in our lives. But what happens when circumstances are unpleasant? When things around us fall apart? What do we when He seems so far away?
We should still praise Him in spite of the pain or the trial we are facing. We should place our trust in Him, love Him, even though He may seem far away.
“For [though] the fig-tree shall bear no fruit, and there shall be no produce on the vines; the labour of the olive shall fail, and the fields shall produce no food: the sheep have failed from the pasture, and there are no oxen at the cribs; 18 yet I will exult in the Lord, I will joy in God my Saviour. Habakkuk 3:17-18”
There will be periods in our life that God will test us by seeming distant from us. These periods are like the coldest winters or the driest deserts. We must keep in mind, that God hasn’t really abandoned us or forgotten us. He says in His word that He will never leave us nor forsake us. He may sometimes hide his face from us.
When this happens we start wondering how long we will be in the desert. This might last days, weeks, and months maybe longer. This is just a normal part of our testing. Through this dry period of our life we tend to mature more in Him. We all go through these periods, at least once. These periods are usually painful, but they are vital for our faith to mature and develop.
One of the greatest examples in the Bible of this is Job. Job faced this test of faith. He could not feel God’s presence in his life “When he wrought on the left hand, then I observed [it] not: his right hand shall encompass me but I shall not see [it]. 10 For he knows already my way; and he has tried me as gold. Job 23:9-10” This is a test of our faith. Will we continue to trust, love, obey and praise Him even when we feel he is distant?
In the times when we feel Him distant, when we feel that our life is falling apart, it is then when our faith is stretched. This is exactly what happened to Job. In a single day he lost everything, his family, business, health and all he owned. And we notice when reading the chapters of Job that in nearly 36 -37 chapters God said nothing. God was silent!
What do we do then? How do we praise Him when everything is falling apart in our life and He is silent? We do what Job did: “So Job arose, and rent his garments, and shaved the hair of his head, and fell on the earth, and worshipped, 21 and said, I myself came forth naked from my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return thither; the Lord gave, the Lord has taken away: as it seemed good to the Lord, so has it come to pass; blessed be the name of the Lord. Job 1:20-21”
When life is falling apart and God seems silent we should find things to praise Him for like Job did. Praise him for His love and kindness. Praise Him for being all- powerful, all- merciful, for being in control of our life, for the plans He has for us, for taking us out of this dry desert.
Never stop trusting Him through these hard and dry times. Wait patiently on Him without grumbling or murmuring. Job trusted God through his pain. He remained faithful. “Though the Mighty One should lay hand upon me, forasmuch as he has begun, verily I will speak, and plead before him. Job 23:15”
Jesus is our example in the New Testament. He was abandoned by his friends, the Apostles, and by His Father on the cross. He cried out in despair: My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?
Jesus gave up everything so we may have everything. Through these periods of dryness just remember all the things He has done for us, for you. He gave his only begotten Son for us so that we may not perish. This alone is worthy of our continual praise and thanksgiving to Him. We should never say we have nothing to thank Him for.