I have often wondered through the wilderness of doubt. As a teenager, I constantly battled with the hiddenness of God–to the point to where I considered myself an agnostic. Even as an adult Christian, I have gone through periods of questioning whether or not God cares at all about my circumstances. In the past, I have thought—and even said—things like, “God, if you hear me, please do X right now.” Typically X looked like something miraculous; usually something small and innocent—but just enough to comfort me and to let me know that God is there. After all, isn’t God our father? Do fathers not want their children to know that they are there for them? There more I’ve reflected on this issue of the hiddenness of God, the more I’ve noticed a few things.
- What God wants me to do is to trust him—he does not necessarily want me to be comfortable. This is very hard to swallow, because I love comfort. But in serious difficulties, as hard as it is for me to sit back and trust him, this is what he wants from me. I know this in my head better than I know this in my heart; and in my opinion, this is a large part of what makes the Christian life difficult. Nevertheless, how I feel about it is ultimately beside the point. Learning to trust God is of paramount importance.
- God has revealed the reasons for trusting him in his word. The Bible is not running on a short supply of people who have struggled to trust God. One serious benefit of having the Bible is that you have a collection of books filled with true stories of people who have trusted God, as well as those who have not. You also get the results. So the point is that the Bible is partially meant to give you reasons to trust God. It does not provide a phantom picture of God and say, “Well, trust him because he’s God and you don’t seem to have any other options.” Quite the contrary. It says, “Trust God, because: look at his character. Look at what he has done, and doing, and going to do.”
- A sign is not enough to ensure my indefinite trust in God. Most likely sooner than later the doubts will reappear. The lack of trust will resurface, and another sign will be needed to secure my belief. I don’t need another sign—what I really need is a reminder. And God has supplied reminders all throughout his word.
Let me encourage you and I both, that in moments of despair, when we are wondering where God is, what we need is not another sign, but a reminder. The reminders are in God’s word—reminders that claim that “he himself has said, ‘I will never desert you, nor will I forsake you…’” (Heb. 13:5)
(Questions? Thoughts? Comments? Feel free to share in the comment section or contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org)