Where is God?
Victor Hugo wrote that God is a verb, and he was correct. God is action. He created. He came. He demonstrated. Scripture is full of God doing. He is more than a subject (noun), and thankfully He is more than a modifier (adjective/adverb).
When Moses asked God to introduce Himself, He did so with the present tense verb of being: “I am,” He said. Over and over in the Bible God affirms who He is, what He does, and where He is by His name: “I am with you.”
And therein is God’s vulnerability to question, doubt, and speculation. If He did not claim to be present and accounted for—all the time—then we could reasonably expect Him to be absent sometimes. If He is absent occasionally—or frequently—then we have a logical explanation for why bad things occur: “If only God was here….” Conversely, if God shows up every now and then, we could explain our good fortune: “Oh, my! God showed up and…!”
The fancy word for this thinking is, deism. Perhaps the most famous deist was Thomas Jefferson. Deism asserts that God exists, that He created, but that He then withdrew and took His hands off His creation. To varying degrees, deism asserts that God is not here.
But God does not claim to be incrementally present one moment and absent the next. He claims to be constant right now, and now, and this moment, and the next, without fail and without fluctuation. “I am,” is His name and claim.
But there is an additional piece of who God is that must be factored: He declares that He loves us beyond description and is all-powerful.
God is constantly present, loving us all the time, and is infinitely capable.
So why do bad things happen to me? If God loves me, if I can’t escape Him or wander off from Him, and if He possesses the ability to do anything then where is He when I need Him?
The assumption is that if something bad is about to occur, then God’s love and absolute power will prevent evil from affecting me. Said another way, if bad things occur and God is supposed to prevent them, then either God is not present or not as powerful as my circumstances.
When we think circumstantially, unpleasant things reflect poorly upon God’s love and power. Either we need to redefine His “love” as capricious and cruel or conclude that God’s power is not absolute.
We suffer. Struggle. Our stress is significant. Why doesn’t He do something? Where is He?
This rationale is one of the oldest arguments in humanity. The oldest book in the Bible, Job, wrestles with this question for forty-two chapters. Hundreds of years later, I find myself asking the same question with more frequency than I like to admit. If God is a verb, why doesn’t He act in my defense and on my behalf?
It’s reasonable to ask, “Why?” If we don’t explore “why” we tacitly admit that our lives are meaningless and that whatever transpires doesn’t matter. This denial is another –ism called, asceticism.
But rather than explore another –ism, let me go straight to the bottom line: We are physical beings living in a physical world. God equipped us with multiple resources to ponder, why, and that’s okay. But we are also spiritual beings living in a physical world. A great deal of what occurs around us is spiritual and merits our spiritual consideration.
What occurs in our physical lives may or may not have spiritual bearing, but in order to think about circumstances cleanly, we must think in a prioritized system. First and foremost, we are spiritual beings who live eternally. This means our physical lives are by comparison a puff of historical smoke. This doesn’t make our bodies and lives and world insignificant, but it does put them in perspective.
Whatever is occurring in your life, summon your soul to make a spiritual assessment. How you think about your health, your wellbeing, your family, your profession, your friends, your vacation, your stressors, your victories, and so forth has circumstantial importance to be certain, but each of these has a spiritual component as well.
This blog could continue for thousands of words and more –isms, but all of the words ultimately conclude with this: Ask your Heavenly Father for His perspective on all that comprises your life. Circumstances are important, and sometimes formidable, but they are not necessarily indicative of God’s spiritual viewpoint. Talk with Him about what concerns you, about what has your attention. Read God’s book. Digest His thinking and adopt His perspective.
God is present. He is active. More than anything else, He is anxious to talk with you about all that is on your mind. Just keep in mind, circumstantial evidence may or may not indicate spiritual perspective.