There is an Old Testament person named Job who went through everything bad you can imagine. He lost his family, his wealth, and his health. In the middle of it all, he felt despair and said:
“Behold, I go forward, but he is not there, and backward, but I do not perceive him; on the left hand when he is working, I do not behold him; he turns to the right hand, but I do not see him” (Job 23:8-9 ESV).
Sometimes I feel like Job. I look for God everywhere but just can't find him. I realize I have a great advantage over Job because I have Jesus Christ, the New Testament, and 2,000 years of church history—as well as the Holy Spirit living in me. But in spite of all those advantages, I, like Job, often fail to acknowledge God’s presence and begin to feel as if he has moved away from me. Why do I feel that way? It’s usually because God isn’t doing what I want. He’s not taking away my illness, providing as I want him to, helping my friend, or lifting my low spirits. Even though my theology rails against the idea, I tend to measure my relationship with him by how well things are going in my life. When things are good, the praises to God flow from my lips. When things are bad, I question, question, question.
So how can I turn from that pattern? What can I do to live what I believe and know that God is close at hand, no matter how I am feeling? Only by believing the truth of his Word and banking everything on it, even if my circumstances and emotions belie the very truth I am staking my life upon. I ask God to help me to live by faith, not by sight and to help me to know he is always near, even when I can't feel his presence. I want to stake everything on his truths instead of believing the lies that swirl within me. Because when I do that, suddenly the clouds part and I can see him clearly.