“Why do you stand afar off, O Lord? Why do you hide yourself in times of trouble?” – Psalms 10:1
Some call this “Divine Hiddenness.” It’s when we can’t sense God’s presence. Why would God hide Himself at times?
There are times God hides due to unrepentant sin. “But your iniquities have separated you from your God; your sins have hidden his face from you, so that he will not hear.” – Isaiah 59:2
This is why Jesus died for us – our sin has separted us from God. Faith in Christ restores us. But what about those who don’t believe?
In Hebrews 11:6, it says that “without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.”
It’s as if in order to see we must first believe.
Must belief be blind? Some have simple faith, a gift from God (1 Cor. 12:9). Others are not given that gift of faith, and struggle to believe. This is not a bad thing. Not everyone is the same, and there are different pathways to finding the truth of Christ. The key is to discover your path. It may be that some need more evidence.
“What was from the beginning, what we have heard, what we have seen with our eyes, what we have looked at and touched with our hands, concerning the Word of Life.” – 1 John 1:1
Notice in this verse how John testifies to the truth by what he heard, saw and touched. All of this was empirical evidence of the risen Lord. Empirical evidence is what scientists base their discoveries on; it’s what you can test with the five senses. This kind of evidence is easy to believe because it’s tangible.
Lots of people think faith is blind, but that’s not what the disciples taught. Instead, the disciples repeatedly shared the good news of Christ by telling everyone what they had seen and what they had touched. They wrote down their eye-witness testimonies because they didn’t want people to believe blindly! Coming to faith is often the effect of what we have experienced with our senses, and many people need the extra assurance that the statements in the Bible are based on evidence.
We must remember that not everyone is wired the same. There are many parts to the Body of Christ. Some are blessed with the gift of faith and have no need for evidence—they just believe. Others struggle with faith and need more evidence. Therefore, it is good to know that our faith is not based upon feelings or “blind faith” alone. Peter, Paul, John, and the other disciples repeatedly spoke about what they had seen. They shared their eye-witness testimonies. Their accounts were verifiable by their contemporaries and continue to act as a catalyst for the faith of Christians today.
There are limits, however, to the New Testament evidence for credibility. This kind of evidence can produce an historical faith, giving confidence in the Gospels, but it can’t produce a saving faith. There still needs to be an internal persuasion of the Holy Spirit.
All the evidence shows is that the Christian faith is reasonable because there is sufficient reason to believe it’s true, (i.e. historical eye-witness accounts).
Then comes the yielding. We all must voluntarily yield to these truths, trusting them, and thus, ultimately trusting God.
Everyone with faith must incline their self-will towards believing in God. It’s in the position of the heart, I think, where God meets us. If our position is one that is seeking the truth with pure motivations, God knows it (Prov. 16:2). God knows who is also acting entitled, as if God owes her some kind of obvious sign to prove his existence.
But there are those with bonafide questions, seeking the revelation of God, who don’t seem to find it. They’ve tried and feel nothing has been shown to them. Faith has not ensued.
Perhaps when we stand before God in heaven, He will reveal things we just can’t know in this earthly life. This side of heaven, there will be mysteries that remain unsolved. I hope all those mysteries will be unveiled in heaven. Until then, at times, we must accept the hiddenness of God for some who struggle. We certainly should come alongside them, and help them to believe perhaps by by loving them well. God often uses everyday people to help others believe. Sometimes it takes years.
Trusting the Unseen
This morning, as I faced the window to begin my reflective time with God, I saw gray skies, and I thought of the sun. It’s there behind the clouds, even when I can’t see it. I know it’s there, even if I don’t feel the warmth of its rays falling onto my skin. That’s like Divine Hiddenness. Sometimes God shows Himself in full sunshine and warmth. You can see His hand at work in your life, or the lives of others, and you can feel His love. Then, there are days when He seems to be hidden behind gray skies; you can’t sense Him. He doesn’t seem to be answering prayer.
We know that the sun still exists behind the clouds. We can also know that God is still there, too, no matter what we feel. There are times when He leads us through the desert. In these times, we long for His living water, but may only find droplets among cacti. The cactus even has sharp needles that can prick our finger as we try to break it open to quench our parched lives.
Life is like that sometimes. When we find a source of worldly sustenance, we can bleed from the thorns that prick us. This is where faith comes in, and we must trust God even when we can’t sense Him. We rest in our knowledge of Him—that He is good, and He desires our best because He loves us.
Think Divinely: The knowledge of God helps you to love Him with your mind, and trusting Him with your heart will carry you through those days when God seems hidden.