One of my favorite quotes used to be “God is never late, but He sure misses a lot of opportunities to be early.” This quote seems to correlate with many realities in my life. “If only He had not allowed…” “I wish I knew then what I know now….” are things I have been known to say. And while these thoughts seem to be true, they are void of the Greater Truth.
Do you remember hearing the story about Lazarus. Lazarus was Jesus’ friend. Jesus spent a lot of time at the home of Lazarus and his two sisters Mary and Martha. Lazarus becomes very sick and Mary and Martha send word to have someone go and get Jesus and bring Him to their home so that Jesus can pray for Lazarus and heal him. The word reaches Jesus while he is in another town preaching and healing their sick. When Jesus hears the words He chooses not to go right away to their home, but to continue what He is doing in that other city. Lazarus dies. It is three days after Lazarus’ death that Jesus arrives at the home of Mary and Martha and these two sisters are both heart-broken and ticked! “Where were you?” “If you had gotten here sooner our brother would have lived!” (my paraphrase). And Jesus responds to them this way, “I am the Resurrection and the Life”. After this statement, Jesus proceeds to call Lazarus out of the grave and a three-day dead Lazarus comes out of his tomb alive. (John 11:1-43 tells the story).
There are moments in our life when we feel like God has not shown up. We prayed and the answer didn’t come. Where was He? Why did He turn His back? Did He shut His hearing aid off?
Have you ever noticed that when you are angry, hurt, or afraid it is harder to “hear”? Our emotions and desires often drown out all evidence of God’s omnipresence. You no longer enjoy the laughter of your children. You don’t even notice the brilliant sunrises, or breathtaking sunsets. You find no pleasure in the kind gestures of friends if those gestures fall short of removing your pain. All the while, the constant presence of God is wafting into your moments, days, weeks, months and years.
God said, “I will never leave You or forsake you.” (Hebrews 13:5b) so why does it feel sometimes like He is gone? Honestly I cannot answer the “why?” Our feelings can be powerful realities, but I have learned that if in those moments I ask “God , where are you? Let me see you!” He shows me. It might be in my son’s contagious giggle, or my daughters gentle hug. I may see Him in the pink-painted sky as the sun is setting. These things are not “God”, but they are signs that point me to the Greater Reality and Truth that He is right here with me. When I have a constant, ever-present God with me I have a Healer, Deliverer, a Way Maker, Provider, Defender, Shelter, Refuge, Peace-Giver, Resurrection, Fountain of Wisdom, Life, Hope, Opportunity, Vision, and “A friend that sticks closer than a brother.”
Does God miss opportunities to be with me? Not a chance! Every moment I have His attention. What I need for today He Is. When I wake up tomorrow I am still with Him. Did you know that you are too?
Again I want to challenge you to find God in your fear. Ask Him where He is when you are hurting. Call out to Him when you are angry, and learn to listen. We will seek Him and find Him when we seek Him with all of our hearts. (Jeremiah 29:13 my paraphrase). I want to hear where you found Him today.