Writing this blog has to be one of the most challenging things I’ve ever done. I mean, just take a look at the unorthodox title. This is something that I had to write, however, because I am not the only one in this position. I am not the only who feels like they have an absent God. Truthfully, only a handful have ever asked this burning question: “Oh my God, where are you?”
When I was a child, it was hard for me to comprehend the thought of God. The idea of this being who ruled the universe, but yet knew my name? I couldn’t fathom. It was fascinating to know that this God came down as a man (Jesus) and died for me on the cross for my sins. I grew up knowing this, that he hears my every prayer, that he truly loves me. However, it never crossed my mind that he would fade away from sight, to the point that I questioned his presence in my life.
He is silent.
I’m not going to sit here and type away everything that has happened to me. We all have been through something. A death in the family, losing someone you love dearly, financial hardship, sickness. All prime examples of hard times that come along in this life we live in.
And then there are the other things. The things that are unpredictable and hard to explain. Like when God decided to throw you in pit with no way out. When he took your faith, tore it up into pieces and made a puzzle out of it for you to figure out. The kind of torture and pain that can bring you down to valleys you never thought existed. The darkness that haunts the soul at night. The tears that stream down your face like a river because you held it all in all day. The crazy hope of God showing up and doing what needs to be done, but another week, month, year goes by. The silence of God.
This time is a lonely time. All of a sudden, everyone leaves. They seem to be absent just like God. The ones who are there don’t seem to understand the true depths of what’s going on. It can eat you alive. I’ve been a victim and a committer of this.
All of this from obedience out of what God wants you to do. Shouldn’t you be blessed? You leave EVERYTHING behind with the hopes of something to come that is never really guaranteed. Your job, school, family and friends, your true love. All for what? To be torn to shreds even more?
There is a blatant lack of God with everything said above. How can you not question if he was there the whole time? How do you not wonder if he is really there to hear your prayer and catch every tear that you’ve cried?
Were you really there God?
It was on a regular Thursday night, I had no church to go to. With all the symptoms of an absent God, the unexplainable pain and loneliness that comes along with it, kneeled down and prayed. My heart crying out for my absent God to hear what I had to say. Asking if he could hear my voice again and again. Questioning if he was really there. My heart cried like I’ve never seen it before and I had stopped… My silent God was silent yet again.
Not a word. Not a sound. But an unexplainable peace that came into my heart. A strength of 1,000 warriors.
After all this, I was ashamed and embarrassed of my fussing and whining towards God. Bashful at the silliness of the arrogance of my humanity. I couldn’t believe what I had just done.
It was human arrogance at it’s finest.
I came to remember at the time of something amazing I heard and saw. The photo below is a picture of earth taken from Voyager in 1990. See the pale blue dot there? That’s earth. Everyone who has ever lived in the history of humanity lived on that speck of dust suspended in the universe.
We are tiny worthless beings living on a piece of dust in the universe. The foolishness of our egotism. My egotism towards God, to even question his existence in my life.
I questioned the maker of the universe and the one who holds my world in the palm of his hands. The one who catches every tear that I’ve cried and the one who knows my prayers before I even pray them. The God that came down as a man and died for the sins of all of us on this pale blue dot. The God that saw to forgive me even when I fail him daily. The one who created it all! The heavens and the earth. The stars in the sky. The one who gave us meaning when we are meaningless beings.
I questioned him, and I could never repay him for healing my blindness towards his greatness that I will never come close to understanding.
So is God absent? When Moses saw the burning bush in Exodus, God tells him that he has heard the cry of his people. Then Moses asks God what he should tell people if they ask God’s name. God replies with a phrase, “ehyeh ʾašer ʾehyeh,” “I Am Who I Am,” or “I Will Be Who I Will Be.”
God will be who he will be. Absent. Great. Silent. Awesome. The “I Am Who I Am” will be just that. I am no one to question the undisclosed mystery of God, as he also says in the book of Isaiah:
“My thoughts are nothing like your thoughts,” says the lord. “And my ways are far beyond anything you could imagine. For just as the heavens are higher than the earth, so my ways are higher than your ways and my thoughts higher than your thoughts. (Isaiah 55:8, 9)
The beauty and the mystery. My God will be who he wants to be, even if that means being absent in my life and in my pain.
He is the great “I Will Be Who I Will Be.”