Why does God seem to be hidden and hard to find?
I don’t fully know. I read the bible, I pray and I have some hunches, but the bottom line is I don’t always know.
What are the things I do know? I know that He is God. I am convinced He knows what He is doing. I know that He is who He says He is; gracious, compassionate, slow to anger and rich in love’.
But this elusiveness seems to be removed from what I expect of a loving God. There are times when I feel like I try to reach out to Him and connect, but I can’t, or what I am longing falls short. Does God not hear my crying out to Him? Does He not see my tears? Where is He in these moments?
The bible does talk of times when God hides. Often it is linked to sin and rebellion. Where God will declare quite strongly that His people will look for Him, but they will not find Him (Micah 3:4). That is where God intentionally withdraws.
The Psalms also have references to God being hidden in times of trouble, where the Psalmist asks “how long will you hide your face from me?” (Ps. 88:14)
I wonder in these times, if God has really hidden Himself, or if the troubles surrounding us have become so big in our eyes, that we can’t see anything but the troubles! The answer in those times is surely to refocus on who God is, until He is bigger than any trouble can ever be.
I have also wondered if there are times when God chooses to remove himself from us in order to stretch us and grow us. Kind of like a parent might stand back and let a baby take a few teetering steps on their own so that they learn to balance and walk.
Whatever the reasons for why God hides, the writers in Psalms don’t leave there. They are asking Him to return, to be present, to reveal Himself in action… why?
Because they know He is compassionate. God says this Himself; “In an outburst of anger, I hid My face from you for a moment, but with everlasting lovingkindness I will have compassion on you” says the Lord your Redeemer. (Is. 54:8)
This then is what I come to: I know God’s word is truth. God does not lie. Therefore, I believe it when God tells me I shall find Him when I seek Him with all my heart (Jer. 29:13). I believe He wants to be known and loved by me.
And so, I persevere in seeking God. Longing to know him more, and to experience his presence. Because ultimately, I don’t really believe God is elusive. Its just an illusion. He wants us to find Him and discover Him. When we come to God, through Jesus, He gives His love freely and completely. Nothing can separate us from His love. (Rom. 8:38-39)