How often, amidst a trial of any kind do you stop and ask what God is doing? We usually ask Him, “why”, but rarely “what”. It is as if somehow, God is instantly out to get us whenever our lives are not predictable or convenient. Anyone with me? It may not be how we really feel, but if a friend or someone close to you tried to remind you to “zoom out” or look at the bigger picture, how would you react? If you’re anything like the rest of us, probably not well. That kind of thinking distracts you from attending to the current situation and seems to minimize your present feelings. Similarly, if someone stopped to ask how you saw God working through a challenging situation, your reaction might not be entirely different. You might be thinking internally, “No. God isn’t working here because things aren’t good, and my God is good.”
I call this “situational agnosticism”.
It’s something each of us is guilty of at one point or another. These are the moments when we don’t necessarily deny that God is, but we question where. They are the moments where God encounters our humanity more than we seem to encounter God. Sound familiar? Here’s some good news, if so. You are in incredible company, predictable, and upholding a long-standing tradition! The Bible is wrought with story after story of individuals questioning, refuting, distancing, and even arguing with their King. These occurrences were documented and maintained to this day, perhaps serving as reminders of our own humanity…but they should also serve to remind us of God’s abundant amount of patience and love for us. He is the rewarder of the determined, the persistent. He doesn’t leave, He waits. How many relationships can you say that about? Yet, because of that, we are not left in fear that He won’t be there when things are “good again”, making it easy to feel like no harm was done. Right? Wrong. Harm definitely done, or at least if looking from a larger perspective. Here’s why…
If our life’s journey is to become gradually more and more like Christ through our choices and behaviors, we halt that journey by choosing when to follow, obey, or seek our example. If only we were as steadfast to Him as most of us are to our jobs! Although yes, our God is “good”, He is not transient. He is not situational. Why then, if modeling our lives after an example of such unwavering commitment, are we any different?
Ask yourself, when do I look to God? Is it before, during, or after a trial? Why? Then ask, when does God look to me? … and the answer will be always.