“When you are going through something hard and wonder where God is, remember the Teacher is always quiet during the test.”
I saw this posted on Facebook the other day. Normally, I do not comment on things I do not agree with, mainly because so much can be misinterpreted via text and because it is annoying when you can’t post something without someone else coming along to offer correction, clarification or multiple contingencies on why your statement isn’t true in ALL cases. Not wanting to be THAT person, I paused as I read the sentence over again, understanding the lie it was communicating about my Jesus, but debating whether I would speak up. That statement, in its bland attempt to be mildly philosophical, was a fancy way of saying… “When life is at its most difficult, God won’t talk to you because He wants you to figure it out on your own.” It draws the picture of a sink-or-swim God, Someone who cares but makes you go through things on your own to see what you’re made of. What kind of God are we believing in, if we have to endure the hard stuff by ourselves and gamble with the chance of frequent human failure?
If you’ve seen Taken, the movie that no doubt sent milliliters of adrenaline through the veins of every viewer (who can forget the gut-wrenching moment when Liam Neeson stoically says, “They’re going to take you”), it is easily apparent in the first 5 minutes of the movie that Neeson’s character loves his daughter. What really captures the audience in the following storyline is the passion this man has for his daughter and the lengths he will go to rescue her. By the end of the movie, you want to cry alongside Maggie Grace as she sobs into her father’s arms after she is rescued. Neeson memorably brought to life the image of a wonderful father. If God is known to me as The Almighty, Lord of Heaven and Earth, Ruler of All and every other prestigious accolade and title included in the Bible, but isn’t known to me as just Dad, I’ve bypassed something crucial to my understanding of His heart towards me. Knowing Him as Dad gives me access, anytime, to the greatest Father Who ever has been or will be, One Who has all the answers, my greatest Resource, Who understands me perfectly, Who sees me, Who accepts me, Who loves me, Who defends me and fights for me. He hides things sometimes, not be a drag, but to delight in my discovery of the things He has hidden for me to find at the perfect time (Proverbs 25:2 NLT). He always keeps His promises (Deuteronomy 7:9, MSG) and never leaves me or gives up on me, no matter what choices I make (Deuteronomy 31:8).
Each of us are faced with moments where we get the opportunity to choose what we believe about God. These choices usually come at the intersection of really hard things, when our experiences and emotions contradict Who God is. If we choose to believe what we FEEL is true, we mold and form God to fit into our circumstances and secretly say to ourselves, “God is good, but only sometimes.” But if we choose to believe ACTUAL TRUTH (i.e. The Word of God), He slowly, according to our daily choice, transforms our mind, will and emotions to Who He is (Romans 12:2) and in turn, He works out everything that concerns us, because He knows we love Him and desire to do things His way (the better way) (Romans 8:28). Regardless of religious teaching, or even the different facets of God’s character displayed throughout the Old and New Testament, He’s demonstrated over and over (Moses and the Israelites, Abraham and Lot, Hosea and Gomer, and, you know, JESUS) that there is no limit to His love and His persistence and pursuit of us as His kids. That is the unrelenting, passionate Father we have.
I ended up posting Jeremiah 33:3 (ESV) under the Facebook post, which says, “Call to me and I will answer you and I will tell you great and hidden things you have not known.” Now if only I would have known that “great and hidden things” probably included the answers to problem-solving math questions like, If there are two trains and one leaves the station going 23 mph…..Never could figure those out.
Written by: Ruth Sanchez. If you’d like to reach Ruth, please email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.