God, where art thou?

Silvestro_Chiesa_-_The_sufferings_of_Job_-_A_I_416_-_Finnish_National_Gallery

Suffering Job by Silvestro della Chiesa (1623-1657)

One of the benefits of having the full Canon of Scripture, and having the ability to look back upon a host of godly saints over centuries is that we can look back over their lives and see how they lived out the faith, particularly through tough trials. We have a tendency to know the future outcomes, whether they were eventually delivered, saved, restored, or await the eternal reward of beatitude. We thereby often miss that, during their own time, they had to weather the hour of difficulty without knowing the outcome, at least by sight. There goes the dictum , “Hope that is seen is not hope”. It is only with the eyes of faith that men of old were able to overcome the tormenting fire of trials, and this often involved having to sit content without the comfort of knowing all the answers to difficult questions, and questions that would seem to dispel all reasons to be faithful to God. I can only imagine how many so-called “good” questions that Abraham, Jacob, the Israelites, Job, and many others could have strongly considered as a way to peacefully discard the need to continue following God, who often keeps Himself hidden from our lives.  I mean, why does this God stay so hidden? It would appear hiding away is his primary role! Wouldn’t we do it differently if we were God?

But those are the wrong set of eyes. Without our hurt and longing for Him, and without the struggle of having to hold out on what seems next to nothing, we would never become the stones of faith that the Church is made of. And then, all of the sudden, God comes into view. It is only by these set of eyes that we can overcome the challenges set before us by the Lord. When it is the most difficult, as if holding your hand over a fierce flame, do not shriek away or give up for it is right there where the most strength from God will be given, despite how weak it feels.

As one who knows no other than himself who is worst at all of this, I hesitate to admonish, but to him who finishes the race, he not only has the benefit of knowing that God is a rewarded of those who believe in Him, but also that his family who lives after him, and all those who may come to know about him, might also learn to do the same thing, and never have to be paralyzed by the illusion of an “irresponsible” and “negligent” God.

And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose” (Rom 8:28)

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