I’m convinced that God is present and involved in our lives. He is present even when He seems deaf, out of town, or on leave of absence. God is present even when He doesn’t seem to show up.
Luke chapter 24 includes one of my favorite post-resurrection stories. Starting at verse 13 we find two of Jesus’ disciples walking down the road. As they walked and talked about all that had happened they were bumfuzzled (confused). The stories of Jesus’ tomb being empty just didn’t make sense.
Then someone joined them on the trail. He asked them why they were so “down-in-the-mouth” (dejected, depressed, disheartened for the non-country readers). They asked, “Are you a complete stranger to Jerusalem? Haven’t you heard?” “Heard what,” asked the stranger?
“The things that happened to Jesus, the man from Nazareth,” they said. “He was a prophet who did powerful miracles, and he was a mighty teacher in the eyes of God and all the people. But…they crucified him. We had hoped he was the Messiah who had come to rescue Israel. This all happened three days ago.
“Then some women… were at his tomb early this morning… they said his body was missing, and they had seen angels who told them that Jesus is alive! Some of our men ran out to see, and sure enough, his body was gone, just as the women had said.” (Luke 24:19-24 NLT)
The stranger began to explain why all this tragedy had to happen. When they arrived at their village they insisted he stop and eat with them. As they ate together the disciples recognized that the stranger was Jesus. When he left, their comment was, “Didn’t our hearts just burn when He was with us?” They were so busy lamenting that God had failed to show up and stop the death of the Messiah, they could not see that He had shown up. He was right there beside them.
If you find yourself on dusty road today because the circumstances in your life have left you confused and depressed, I have a word of encouragement for you. Never assume from God’s silence or apparent absence that He does not care. Feelings are fickle and prone to change with the wind. With God, even when nothing is happening – something is happening.
The second thought that I have to share today is this…God is never late, He just misses some good chances to be early. His timetable is different than ours. We live in a world of instant everything. If we can’t buy it in the instant version, there is always the microwave. And sometimes it seems like God is obsessed with using the slow-cooker.
One instance that I have already mentioned is when Jesus showed up late at the home of Lazarus…and Martha, and Mary. Late as far as the sisters were concerned, but Jesus knew exactly what was happening and when it happened…and yes, even why it happened as it did.
Another instance is in the Old Testament in the life of King David. David spent 14 years running for his life from Saul after God had rejected Saul as king and selected David. God showed up, then for 14 years God didn’t show up.
Wolfgang Mozart composed his first symphony at five years of age, and died broke at 35. His most valuable possession at the time of his death is said to have been a violin worth about $2. He was buried in a common grave, and only a few friends attended his funeral.
Ludwig Von Beethoven, another musical child prodigy, began losing his hearing before he was 30 years old, and by the last decade of his life he was almost completely deaf. He gave up conducting and performing in public but continued to compose; some of his most famous works come from those last 15 years of his life. He couldn’t hear his best compositions.
And the list goes on and on of both Christian and secular who have from our point of view, “died before their time,” “not lived up to their potential,” or that “have been dealt a stacked deck.”
On the other side of that coin are the people who have lived godless, and as far as society is concerned, useless and worthless lives. And some of them live on and on.
And my only consolation is, “God is here, even when He doesn’t seem to show up.” So, until we hear from Him, we would be wise to not get perturbed. There is a God, but I am not Him, and neither are you. Until and unless He shows up, I had best keep my seat and wonder.