Ever see the wind? Do you see sound waves when listening to the ocean? When you get a sunburn, did you see the UV rays all around you?
There are many things we don’t see, yet they exist. And how do we know they exist? By their effect on our world.
We don’t see the wind, but we see flags moving in the breeze, we see trees bend over, we see waves in the pond and we see smoke traveling sideways. And we feel it.
We see the red skin and feel the pain when we are in the sun too long, we get a ringing in our ears when we go to a concert or have the radio too loud, or when a fire truck goes by blaring its siren.
There are so many things we don’t see that are there. We easily accept their existence because we see their effect on our physical world. Sometimes it is immediate, sometimes it takes a while to appear, but because we see the effect it has on our physical world we trust that it is real.
If it is so easy for us to accept the existence of UV light, of wind, of sounds we are incapable of hearing, of mesons, and so many other things that we have never seen, why is it so impossible for us to accept that God exists and that He is always there?
I am sure most people reading this already accept that God exists, but do you really, really believe that He is always there? Always watching and aware? I do. Just because I don’t see His work in my life, at that time of my life, it doesn’t mean He isn’t present in my life.
God’s time is not like our time: we live in a lineal timeline, flat, one-way only, from this moment to the next one. We can’t go backwards, and we can’t go any farther into our future than right this second. God, on the other hand, is unrestricted by our timeline. He is in the ancient past at the same moment He exists in the distant future, all the time being right here with us, now. That’s why He is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow: it is all the same time to Him.
When Joseph was in the dungeon for 12 years did he think God had abandoned him? When Daniel was praying for answers, did he think God was ignoring him? When David cried out his heart to the Lord through his psalms, while being chased for years by Saul, did he think that God was missing in his life? Did Yeshua think God was ignoring Him when He prayed to “let this cup pass by me?” When Shaul (Paul) was in jail and chained, did he think that he was singing to the wall?
When you are going through tsouris, are you praying to God and expecting relief right away? There’s nothing wrong with expecting God to answer prayers- He’s good that way. But we need to be doing much more than just faithfully expecting the answer: we need to be looking for it, too! The answer to prayer we receive is (I believe) more often not what we expect but it is always exactly what we need. God knows much better than we do what we need because He can see what will occur from what is happening to us right now. We can only hope and try to make things happen the way we want them to, but God can make things happen the way He wants them to. Every time.
That is why we can’t really know what He will do when we ask something of Him. Yeshua told us in the Gospels, when we ask in His name we will receive, and we need to be expecting to receive. But what we receive may not be what we asked for, yet it will be the answer to what our prayers were about.
That sounds a little convoluted, but it is true. At least, it has been for me. When I have thought that maybe God was too busy to deal with me, looking back I see that I was too busy dealing with myself to see what God was doing. And sometimes, I wasn’t doing anything wrong, it just wasn’t time for the answer to my prayer to be realized. God’s timing is perfect because, well, He controls time. Duh! When you make the rules you always win.
Just because we don’t see God at work doesn’t mean He isn’t doing anything. You know, sometimes just waiting is the best thing to do. Doing nothing is, in many ways, doing something.
In my high school was a guy named Mike Santoro (Mike, if you ever read this, how ‘ya doing?) Mike was the best wrestler we had, state-level champion. He taught me that my body could be maneuvered into positions that you couldn’t imagine. When Mike wrestled, he often just sat on the opponent- doing nothing. The other guy was face down on the mat, and Mike is sitting on that guys’ butt, just waiting. The ref would whistle and tell him to stop stalling, but Mike wasn’t stalling- he was prowling. He was stalking the prey, and the moment the other guy moved- POW!! Like a snake striking, Mike was intertwined in this poor guys limbs, and the next thing you knew the ref was on his belly smacking the mat three times.
That’s how God works. He waits for the right moment, and when He moves it is immediate and devastating. Just because we don’t see God doing anything doesn’t mean He isn’t doing something. And when we don’t see God at all, it doesn’t mean He isn’t there, or that He doesn’t exist, and never means that He doesn’t care.
People who are agnostic, atheistic or just sheep believing what they are told to believe have doubts about God, and refuse to see His effect on their world. The bible tells us of all that God has done, and I am constantly disappointed in how people believe a priori what Huffington Post or Wikipedia says, but doubt the bible. The people who wrote the bible didn’t do so to make themselves rich, or to appease some special interest group, or to make themselves look to be heroic. They were often ridiculed, stoned and killed for their writings. As a point in fact, we are currently celebrating Hanukkah, and the Maccabees are the heros, but when you read their story you find out that just about every single one of them was assassinated later. Not a very happy ending.
We need to stop looking for the Son of Man to come down with power and glory from the skies. It’ll happen when it happens. In the meantime, just look for the effect that God has on the physical world- that is what we can use to prove His existence when we are ministering to the world.
As for all of us, when we go through tsouris and feel that God is ignoring or forgetting about us, and we don’t see His presence in our lives, please remember that just because we don’t see something doesn’t mean it isn’t there.