When God Seems Absent

We’ve all been there. Some of us have been there more times than we want to remember and more recently than we care to admit.

We have been on our knees, asking the Lord God to intervene on our behalf. Maybe for you it was in the midst of chemo. Maybe you have been calling out in the midst of a marriage crumbling around you. Impossible times have a way of making us feel isolated, alone, and helpless. When we are brought to the end of our own self-sufficiency and there is nothing we can do about a child in rebellion, that strained relationship, or an evaporating job market.

So, from the fog of our confusion, hurt, and desperation, we pray. We call out to God, and as best as we can tell, we hear nothing in return. We are struck by silence. And we wonder where He is in the midst of all we are going through.

Be encouraged. You are not the only child of God to have that experience.

Take heart. God is much nearer than your feelings would allow you to believe.

The world is saturated with pain, difficulty, and hardship, but our Savior reminds us that He has overcome this world. Throughout Scripture, God declares and demonstrates that He will never leave us, He is with us, and He is for us. He captures every tear. He hears every prayer. And every struggle we experience is working in us a glory that will eclipse every hardship.

The book of Esther is one powerful example of this truth. This small testimony, tucked away in the history of God’s people, is full of struggle, tension, drama, humor, irony, and plot twists. However, the one thing it is missing is any mention of God. His name is never spoken. Not once.

But, make no mistake, God is present. His hand is clearly at work behind and between every decree and every plot. Therein lies our first lesson. Even when we cannot see God, He is present & active. He is weaving a tapestry of faithfulness that is not readily visible while standing in the midst of a chaotic mess of needles and yarn. But when it is finished and we look back, the beauty of His artwork is undeniable.

In Esther we also see that God’s enemies are real and evil has an agenda. When Jesus promises that “in the world you will have tribulation” (John 16:33), He is not speaking in metaphor. The world (as we have already said) is ripe with pain and trouble. The Lord’s enemies, spiritual and natural, have a plan and they are always at work. Satan prowls like a lion (1 Peter 5:8), seeking those whom he might devour. He comes to steal, to kill, and to destroy (John 10:10). But we have the assurance that “greater is He who is in us than he who is in the world” (1 John 4:4).

Therefore, we have confidence that even when evil appears to advance, God’s plans and His purposes will prevail. Esther is positioned in a position of influence. Mordecai is saved. And Haman is hanged on his own gallows. Authority is granted and a plan is developed. God’s people are preserved, and His enemies are destroyed. Even when others act on evil impulses, God is working for the good of His people and the glory of His name. His plans will prevail.

Our role? Our role is to trust Him today. Esther and Mordecai teach us this. We cannot anticipate or prepare for every challenge that awaits us, but God prepares us daily as we pursue Him. When Esther was taken, they were powerless to stop it. When Mordecai stops an assassination plot, and was not rewarded for it, he did it because it was the right thing to do. He had no idea the significance of the act, or that a late reward would be key to God’s plan.

There is so much we cannot anticipate or plan for, but if we will commit to follow the Lord in the day we have, then He will prepare us for the days to come. Preparing for the big plans of tomorrow begin with faithfulness in the little things of today. We may not know the fullness of His plans, but He does. And if we commit to present day faithfulness, we will see His deliverance and provision and glory.

“Fear not, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom.” (Luke 12:32)

Take courage. Our God is faithful. Our Savior is faithful. The Spirit is our help. Trust Him and stay close to Him.

If there is anything else I do to help you along this journey, please reach out.

If you are interested in viewing the Esther Sermon series, you can access it here.

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