God in the Shadows

And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. ‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’ or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.” (Rev 21:3-4; NIV)

Many of us have experienced a painful, life-changing event. It could be some physical harm or illness, the loss of a loved one, the failure of a marriage, or the loss of a family home or business.

It's happened to me. I went through an extended period feeling angry at God, disappointed that he hadn't revealed himself in the middle of the worst time in my life. I had lost the most important thing to me in the world. I remember telling my mom that I felt like Satan had won the day, and that God was hidden in the shadows. I couldn't shake the feeling that he had let me down.

In time, I drew close to him again, but there were still ongoing disappointments, things which grew out of the first loss, and my pain seemed to go on and on. I started to doubt God's ability to change things. One particular thing that was hurting me seemed so far out of control, I thought I had to resolve it myself. I felt like I could control it. I tried to control it to relieve my pain.

Then on Sunday, as I was worshipping, he spoke to me. His message was simple. You have overstepped yourself. I will resolve things in my own time. I am God.

As I sat there, thinking about what he'd told me, my mind cleared.

Sometimes things in life just happen. Maybe they have to happen. Sometimes they are the consequences of our bad decisions, sometimes they are the consequences of someone else's sin or foolishness, and sometimes they happen for reasons we cannot explain. The mystery behind these events is something we can only guess at, and if we try, we will probably be wrong. I am just a man, and my perspective is limited. I have many times looked back on assumptions I made in the past and realized that I was off.

The only thing I can be sure of is that God is sovereign. If I know and believe that, I have to trust him. So the question is simply, will I allow him to be God?

If I will, then like a child to a parent, I need to trust his wisdom and love and stop trying to control the circumstances around me. I need him to heal me of my pain, and not try to relieve it by exerting my own will. I need to believe that he loves me, and has never left me. In his timing, every wrong will be made right, every tear wiped away.

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