Where Are You?
Recently, my mother died. While I am thankful she lived to age 90, the final years of her life were filled with health issues and complications, surgeries, physical therapy rehabilitation, and pain. In the final months, dementia took over, wrapping her in a haze of befuddlement and fear.
Each day, when I entered the “memory” unit of the care facility, before I even saw my mother, I heard her pleading voice reverberate down the corridor, “Please! Please! Won’t somebody help me?” Even when I sat beside her, held her hand, and assured her of my presence, she continued to scream for help. During those difficult days, I often prayed, God, where are you? How does my mother’s suffering glorify you? When will you answer her cry for help?
When we are going through challenging times, it’s normal for us to ask, “God, where are you?” We want an immediate response to questions that sometimes have no ready answers. We question God’s timing and want to know the outcome of the situation prior to its resolution. But have you ever wondered what it’s like for God when we distance ourselves from Him?
“But the LORD God called to the man, ‘Where are you?'” Genesis 3:9 (NIV)
When Adam and Eve disobeyed God, they experienced fear for the first time. Suddenly, they understood the consequences of sin—separation from God. Prior to sin, they eagerly awaited God and enjoyed fellowship with Him in the beautiful, cool, lush garden that was their home. After disobeying, they feared God’s reaction and hid from their Creator. Even before God asked, “Where are you?” He knew His relationship with Adam and Eve had changed.
Many days, God asks me the same question, “Where are you?” Chores capture my attention. Deadlines loom. The Internet, social networking, phone conversations, or TV watching eat up valuable hours with little return. And God waits patiently, knocking on my heart’s door, asking where I am and why I haven’t spent time with Him.
“Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with me.” Revelation 3:20 (NIV)
Where are you? A good question. Where am I in my spiritual walk? Where am I in my prayer life? Where am I in Bible study? Where I am in telling others about God? Sometimes I am hiding because I’ve allowed unconfessed sin to erect a colossal barrier. Other days, I am simply lazy and undisciplined, navigating life in my own terms, seeking wisdom elsewhere, and fearing things that may never happen. Yet God waits patiently, missing special times of connection with me.
Sometimes we forget that God created us specifically for the purpose of having fellowship with Him. The word picture in Revelation 3:20 of Jesus sitting at the dinner table sharing a meal with us provides a reminder of the type of warm fellowship afforded us, if we are willing. But most often we ignore the offer of intimate friendship. God is standing by waiting to impart wisdom, encourage us, comfort and help us with problems and struggles. He misses us when we remain distant. But instead of seeking Him and looking forward to time with Him, we hide behind duties, obligations, events, activities, relationships, or self-created busyness that we consider more important or necessary. We fall into bed at night exhausted, and God is still waiting, sad that we have ignored him yet another day, quietly saying, “Here I am! Where are you?”
Genesis 1:1 1In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.
In the beginning God… The Bible doesn’t argue the existence of God. It does declare that it is the fool who says there is no God. (Psalm 14:1) The very first verse of the Bible begins with His action related to man, the creation of space and matter. That is the logical starting point of creation for an unchanging, eternal God.
The Bible is a declaration of who God is and His relationship to His creation, man. This first verse tells us that God is before all things and the source of all things. The fact that He alone is responsible for all things should cause us to see that we owe our existence to Him. He is the ultimate standard for what is right and appropriate, for He is the source of all. Have you bowed your head to the One who gave you life and acknowledged that you owe your all to Him? Are you living in the recognition of the fact that “In the beginning God…”? What should that mean to you today and every day?
Take a moment to think of the One who inhabits eternity before space was spoken into existence. He brought it into being to create a place for you. He didn’t need to. He wanted to. Do you want to know Him?
Admonition:See the world around you today as a gift from the loving hands of your Creator.
Streams in the Desert – January 1
- 20221 Jan
The land whither ye go to possess it is a land of hills and valleys and drinketh water of the rain of heaven; a land which the Lord thy God careth for: the eyes of the Lord are always upon it, from the beginning of the year even to the end of the year. (Deuteronomy 11:11-12)
Today, dear friends, we stand upon the verge of the unknown. There lies before us the new year and we are going forth to possess it. Who can tell what we shall find? What new experiences, what changes shall come, what new needs shall arise? But here is the cheering, comforting, gladdening message from our Heavenly Father, “The Lord thy God careth for it.”
All our supply is to come from the Lord. Here are springs that shall never dry; here are fountains and streams that shall never be cut off. Here anxious one, is the gracious pledge of the Heavenly Father. If He be the Source of our mercies they can never fail us. No heat, no drought can parch that river, “the streams whereof make glad the city of God.”
The land is a land of hills and valleys. It is not all smooth nor all down hill. If life were all one dead level the dull sameness would oppress us; we want the hills and the valleys. The hills collect the rain for a hundred fruitful valleys. Ah, so it is grace and brings down the shower of blessing; the hills, the bleak hills of life that we wonder at and perhaps grumble at, bring down showers. How many have perished in the wilderness, buried under its golden sands, who would have lived and thriven in the hill-country; how many would have been killed by the frost, blighted with winds, swept desolate of tree and fruit but for the hill- stern, hard, rugged, so steep to climb. God’s hills are a gracious protection for His people against their foes!
We cannot tell what loss and sorrow and trial are doing. Trust only. The Father comes near to take our hand and lead us on our way today. It shall be a good, a blessed new year!
A New Year’s benediction
“But the God of all grace, who hath called us unto his eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after that ye have suffered a while, make you perfect, stablish, strengthen, settle you.” 1 Peter 5:10
Suggested Further Reading: Revelation 21:1-6
Oh, beloved, when you hear of Christ, when you know that this grace comes through Christ, and the calling through Christ, and the glory through Christ, then you say, “Lord, I can believe it now, if it is through Christ.” It is not a hard thing to believe that Christ’s blood was sufficient to purchase every blessing for me. If I go to God’s treasury without Christ, I am afraid to ask for anything, but when Christ is with me I can then ask for everything. For sure I think he deserves it, though I do not. If I can claim his merits then I am not afraid to plead. Is perfection too great a boon for God to give to Christ? No. Is the keeping, the stability, the preservation of the blood-bought ones too great a reward for the terrible agonies and sufferings of the Saviour? No. Then we may with confidence plead, because everything comes through Christ. I would in concluding make this remark. I wish, my brothers and sisters, that during this year you may live nearer to Christ than you have ever done before. Depend upon it, it is when we think much of Christ that we think little of ourselves, little of our troubles, and little of the doubts and fears that surround us. Begin from this day, and may God help you. Never let a single day pass over your head without a visit to the garden of Gethsemane, and the cross of Calvary. And as for some of you who are not saved, and know not the Redeemer, I would to God that this very day you would come to Christ.
For meditation: The New Year may not always be as “Happy” as we would wish, but the Christian is blessed in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places (Ephesians 1:3) and can look forward to a “Blessed New Year” throughout the problems that may come.