Greg's Blog

When God Seems Absent.

by Greg Laurie on Oct 13, 2018

There are times in life when God seems absent, but He never is. God is always at work in the lives of believers, every hour of every day.

In his excellent commentary on the Old Testament book of Esther, Charles Swindoll wrote, “Who of us has not longed for a word from God, searched for a glimpse of His power, or yearned for the reassurance of His presence? … Yet later, we realize how very present He was all along.”

When the two disciples on the road to Emmaus were discouraged after the crucifixion of Christ, none other than Jesus Himself, the risen Lord, joined them on their journey. They didn’t realize it, but Christ himself was walking with them. And at the end of their journey He revealed Himself to them.

Life can be that way. There are times when we sense the presence of the Lord. There are times when we see the hand of God. Then there other times when we don’t feel God’s presence and don’t see His hand. We wonder whether God has abandoned us.

The truth is that He never has, and He never will. The Bible says, “For He Himself has said, ‘I will never leave you nor forsake you.’” (Hebrews 13:5 NKJV).

You’re probably familiar with the word providence. We say things like, “It was providential” or “It’s providence.” But what does that mean? Providence comes from the Latin word providentia, which means “foresight” or “foreknowledge.” So when we use the word providence, we’re simply saying this: God sees things before they happen.

There is nothing that is accidental or a result of dumb luck. It’s all guided by the providence of God. Our lives are like a movie: they have a beginning, a middle, and an end. Some lives are like “The Sound of Music,” with raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens. And other lives are like “Braveheart,” with lots of conflicts and battles.

Sometimes our lives don’t make sense. But if you have put your faith in Christ, you can be confident of this: God is at work in your life.

Christians don’t believe in coincidence; we believe in providence. The Bible says, “The Lord directs the steps of the godly. He delights in every detail of their lives” (Psalm 37:23 NLT).

I’m sometimes asked what my favorite Bible verse is. It’s a somewhat difficult question to answer, because I have a lot of favorite Scripture verses. A lot depends on what I’m going through in the moment.

For instance, if I’m in a difficult and worrisome situation, I suppose my favorite is Philippians 4:6–7, which says, “Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus” (NLT).

Then again, if things aren’t making sense or seem a bit chaotic, my favorite Scripture at that moment may be John 14, where Jesus said, “Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me” (verse 1 NKJV).

When things are not making sense, Romans 8:28 is a go-to verse: “And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose” (NKJV).

Overall, if I had to choose just one verse, I would say that Jeremiah 29:11 is my favorite: “‘For I know the thoughts that I think toward you,’ says the Lord, ‘thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope’” (NKJV).

If God had simply said, “I know this single thought that I had about you for a nanosecond,” I would be happy to think that the almighty God, the creator of the universe, had even a passing thought about me. But that is not what God says. He says, “I know the thoughts” – plural. They’re not past tense thoughts; they’re present tense and future tense.

God is at work in your life, and He has a plan and a purpose.

Sometimes we say, “I don’t get why my life is going this way. I don’t understand this interruption. I don’t know why this thing has happened to me. I don’t know why I am where I am right now.”

Did it ever occur to you that you are where you are for such a time as this? Did it ever occur to you that you are exactly where God wants you to be – that He has a plan and a purpose in the place where you are?

That was certainly the case with Esther’s life, which we read about in the Old Testament book that bears her name. The search was on for the next great beauty of Persia, and whoever won would be the next queen. I don’t think Esther ever aspired to be a queen. She didn’t have any videos on YouTube or any selfies uploaded to Facebook and Instagram. She probably just thought she would follow the Lord, live a quiet life in obscurity, marry a nice Jewish boy, and have a family.

But God had a plan for her life. He put His hand on her and put her in a special place as the queen. When an edict went out that all the Jewish people would be put to death, Esther’s cousin Mordecai came to her and said, “Yet who knows whether you have come to the kingdom for such a time as this?” (Esther 4:14 NKJV) She could have simply dismissed this. But Esther understood that God put her where she was for a reason.

God was quietly but directly working, moving and rearranging events and changing minds in the most secular of settings.

God is in control of your life, too, and He will accomplish His purposes in His time. The Bible says in Ecclesiastes that He has made everything beautiful in its time – not before and never after.

Taken From My Weekly Column at World Net Daily.

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