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When God Hides

Where Are You, Lord?

By Laura J. Bagby
CBN.com Sr. Producer

CBN.comI went home to pray again at lunch. Seems I am doing that more and more these days. I guess when you are in a season of transition, a season where you are at the crux of the crossroads, if you are serious about following the Lord, you tend to plead for His guidance and direction a whole lot more.

I was reminding God just today that either I need to better interpret those signposts He has already given me this year, or I need some strategies for moving toward the new destiny He has for me. Doing the same old, same old is just not an option anymore.

There is no such thing as standing still any longer – unless it is simply to be still and know that He is God (Psalm 46:10). Other than that, movement is the key. My mother calls it "being a moving target". Yep, change is in the air. Now it’s a question of what it all means and what changes need to happen.

So day after day I have been calling out to Him. Hey, God, what’s up? What are You doing in my life? I sort of see something forming here, but I don’t exactly know what to do next. Can You please clue me in?

And I know He listens. He lets me lie on His big proverbial counseling couch and get it all out – all the tears and frustrations and questions and arguments, even hopes and dreams and desires.

But when it comes to showing me specifically His ways, His direction, His strategies…well, I kind of feel like those disappointed Elvis fans that were hoping to glimpse the King only to realize He’s left the building and He isn’t coming back anytime soon.

He simply leaves me with this resonating nugget: Trust Me, Laura.

Sure, God, but how?

I remind God about how I really want His presence. I can’t do another day on hold as I have been living it. I have got pressing concerns. I have got some major decisions down the road. Which way do I go? Where is the path? Where are you, Lord?

Which leads me to think about that familiar command God so often used when He called His rag-tag team of future field reps called the disciples back in the New Testament: “Come and follow Me!”

Now, for a bunch of guys who had been doing the same old routine year after year, the call to instant change couldn’t have been easy. But at least they saw Jesus in the flesh when He said those words, and as He walked, they saw where He was walking so that they could literally follow in His footsteps.

Same goes for Peter when He saw a ghost-like image on the sea and realized it was Jesus. When Jesus called Peter to step out of that boat and walk on the water, he did because he literally saw and heard the Lord motioning to him (Matthew 14:22-29).

And even doubting Thomas got to physically see the nail-pierced marks Jesus endured on the cross when Christ came to visit after the Resurrection (John 20:24-28).

But in my present reality, I don’t have the advantage of having Jesus in bodily form. When He calls out “Follow Me!” I don’t see His smiling face. I can’t put my foot into His sandaled footprint. I can’t watch as He breaks the bread at my table at home. Honestly, sometimes I am not sure I heard Him call. I wonder if I am just following the pounding of my own heart – not His.

I know it takes more faith to believe in that which we don’t see. I know we walk by faith and not by sight. And that’s great when life is going well. Theology is always great when life is good; it often changes when it isn’t going well. Try to live it out when God seems hidden.

I have recently tried a new tactic with the Lord, since He doesn’t seem to be moving or speaking much. And you have to understand: I am praying and reading His Word, so I know it isn’t an issue of rampant sin that has God staying so quite. I started wondering, Maybe God is waiting on me to do something. Maybe I am holding up my own destiny because I am supposed to take action. So I have been casting lots of bread on the water of my life and seeing what comes back to me (Ecclesiastes 11:1). Originally, I thought this was a brilliant plan. Put some feelers out; see what bites. I will then know what God is saying.

So I started on the little that I thought God might be directing me to do. I have been getting my finances in order, planning the structure for a book and Web site, looking into buying a house, and securing various ministry opportunities at my church.

And what’s God saying? I have no idea! I don’t feel anymore excited or joyful than before. In fact, I feel more irritable, depressed, and confused. I am not getting a clearer direction by taking these little steps than I did before, which has me scratching my head a lot.

As I have been putting out these feelers, I am also trying to watch for the open door/closed door idea you hear so much about in Christian circles. You look for those doors that fling wide open and run far from those doors that get slammed in your face. That’s how you know the Lord has spoken.

But I am finding that this feeler/door technique isn’t anymore helpful than standing still. In fact, it can be downright overwhelming.

What looks like an open door isn’t always. Within the space of about two weeks, what looked like an open door of opportunity to build a budding skill set is looking more like a door that got propped open accidentally only to be shut within a couple of months. Time will tell, I guess.

Some closed doors can be final, but not always. Sometimes that door is closed for just a season because the timing isn’t right. Soon you will be ushered inside to the beautiful chamber beyond, once the obstacle has been taken away. But how do you know this when you are standing looking at that locked door? It looks like a no-go.

Some doors are swinging doors – they swing wide as you go through and you think it’s just the most blessed thing in your life, but then they kick you in the pants on the other side – ouch! So what exactly does that mean? Did you do the right thing, or did you make a mistake? Was that God’s will for you to enter, or did you naively take matters into your own hands?

Cracked doors, propped doors, swinging doors – this describes much of my life right now. And, boy, am I tired of trying to figure it all out.

I was bemoaning my life of spinning plates recently to my mom over the phone. She and I have had some really wonderful conversations of late about life lessons. And she is really wise when it comes to the things of God. I might not always agree with her at the time, but I know that my mother has much greater faith than I give her credit for. And knowing that, I am starting to listen more.

She told me, “Laura, you have too many irons in the fire, Darling.”

You got to love my British mom. She says it with such concern. Maybe she is right. Maybe I do need to slow down.

“Mom, I don’t know why,” I said to her, trying not to cry, “but I feel so insecure right now.”

And that’s just it. It’s trust that is the issue and my own sense of identity. The Lord isn’t being who I thought He was, so I feel like I don’t know Him. Because I don’t know this Jesus that I currently see, I am not sure I trust Him. And in the middle of it all, I am not sure who I am or who I am supposed to become.

Ever been there?

I look back once again to unsure Thomas, who needed some major reassurance. His world was getting shaken up and he was shaken with it. But I think this is the message God is trying to get across to me. Read this passage with me and see if this is also what God might be saying to you:

Thomas said to him, "Lord, we don't know where you are going, so how can we know the way?" Jesus answered, "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:5-6).

I keep saying, I don’t know the way, yet the Lord says not to worry because He is. I keep saying to myself, What is really true right now? God says, It’s Me. I moan about the fact that I feel dry, that I am going through some kind of death. Yet here is the Lord saying, Look, Laura, I am life.

If you are there in this place of not knowing what God is doing in your life, as I am, and yet you are trying to cling to your faith, let’s commit to keep on seeking Him. Maybe this can be your prayer, too:

God, help me to see You, though I can’t see you visibly. Help me to know you, even though right now you confound me. Please, Lord, break into my existence. Have compassion on me and flood me with understanding.

Holy Spirit, remind me of all those things I need to know, all those things that I have forgotten – things like You won’t leave me or forsake me; things like you have a future and a hope for me; things like you will keep my foot from stumbling.

I don’t want to fail You. Not now. Not when I am so close to an amazing breakthrough. I don’t want to keep wandering through the wilderness. Show me what to do. Show me who You are amidst my personal storm.

I bless You today, though I don’t know Your specific plan. I bless you today, though I don’t know what tomorrow brings or next week or even this year. You are the constant while my world is swirling. Be my steady Guide.

In Jesus Christ’s Name,

Amen

Comments? E-mail me.

How to Give Your Life to Christ:

1. Admit you are a sinner and need forgiveness.

2. Believe that Jesus Christ died for you on the Cross and rose from the grave.

3. Through prayer, confess that Jesus Christ is the only way to God and commit to live for Him for the rest of your life.

What to Pray:

Dear Lord Jesus,

I know that I am a sinner and need your forgiveness. I believe that You died on the cross for my sins and rose from the grave to give me life. I know You are the only way to God so now I want to quit disobeying You and start living for You. Please forgive me, change my life and show me how to know You. In Jesus' name. Amen.

If you prayed that prayer, please send us an e-mail to let us know. Or you can call our CBN Prayer Counseling Center at (800) 759-0700. We would love to talk with you and send you some resources to help you begin your walk with the Lord.


Laura J. BagbyLaura J. Bagby produces the Health and Finance channels. She writes inspirational, humor, singles, and health articles.

 


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