Solomon had a few years left after returning to God to share with mankind his lessons of joy. Having lived as if God was absent from His universe and experiencing the heartache and misery of that approach, he came to understand that the person who marginalizes God is a miserable person indeed. No one wants to be around them – while the joyful person has friends galore.
What does life and death hold for a person with no use for the joyful God? What joy can be found for the person who talks as if he knows God but ignores Him and does not invite Him into his problems and his pain – a person who has marginalized God? Sometimes we speak noisily about God’s presence, while secretly believing He is in fact absent. If this is how we live, then life and death are miserable events – the sooner over, the better!
Do you secretly think of God as being absent? I remember a particularly black time of my life when nothing made sense. It seemed God had left my personal world to attend to more important things. He was surely absent! I had nothing to sing about though I continued preaching and teaching and telling people God was near. But I wondered.
Then I came across an old missionary book from at least a century ago, and in it I read that God sometimes hides Himself, but that doesn’t mean He is absent. He is sometimes hidden in the dark, but He is never at a distance. He is always right here, whether we sense Him or not.
Did I believe He was present or absent? Was He nearer than breathing, closer than hands and feet? Or was He so busy organizing His stars into galaxies that He had no time to attend to my sad, sad heart? I had a choice.
I chose to believe He never absented Himself from His people. “Emmanuel” means God with us. Since I was one of His people, that meant me!
Only when we have faith in what the Bible says about Him, and stop pushing Him out to the circumference of our lives, can we find peace of mind, joy of spirit, and answers to our deep heart cry.
Just Between Us Magazine