WISDOM FOR LIVING DAILY DEVOTIONAL
JANUARY 20, 2022
TOPIC: WHEN IT APPEARS GOD IS NOWHERE TO BE FOUND
BY T. O. BANSO
“Look, I go forward, but He is not there, and backward, but I cannot perceive Him; when He works on the left hand, I cannot behold Him; when He turns to the right hand, I cannot see Him” (Job 23:8-9 New King James Version).
From the scriptures, we learn that sin separates man from God. Isaiah 59:1-2 says behold, the LORD’s hand is not shortened that it cannot save, nor His ear heavy, that it cannot hear but your iniquities have separated you from your God, and your sins have hidden His face from you. God is far from the sinner. “Though the LORD is on high, yet He regards the lowly; but the proud He knows from afar” (Psalm 138:6 New King James Version).
God is a holy God and His eyes cannot behold sin. Proverbs 21:27 says the sacrifice of the wicked is an abomination; how much more when he brings it with wicked intent! The sinner’s first duty is to come to God in repentance, not to make any request except for forgiveness.
When people live in sin, they cannot have a relationship and fellowship with God. “The LORD is far from the wicked, but He hears the prayer of the righteous” (Proverbs 15:29 New King James Version). A child of God who lives in sin has a relationship with God but his fellowship is hindered. In such a situation, God would seem to be far from him. But when he draws near to God, He will draw near to him (James 4:8).
However, there are times in the lives of children of God that they’re not living in sin or disobedience but God seems to be far from them. This is a time when they’re going through difficult times and despite all their spiritual activities, including prayer and fasting, their condition seems not to change. They’re asking, “Where is God?” They think God has forgotten or forsaken them because they cannot feel His presence as before. They cannot hear His voice either. God seems far away. He is nowhere to be found.
It appears that God is indifferent or unconcerned about their situations. This causes some people to suffer depression. They feel lonely, rejected, and dejected. Maybe you’re currently in that condition and you’re asking, “Where is God?” You know that God is everywhere. You know He has promised to be with you. Nevertheless, you’re experiencing His silence. You expect God to speak to you comforting words. You need His assurance. You need His intervention. But none is coming.
Job was in such a situation. His trial was not because of any sin he had committed. He was a blameless and upright man and one who feared God and shunned evil (Job 1:1). God testified to these attributes of Job twice (Job 1:8; 2:3). But while Job was going through his trial, he found no comfort from his miserable comforter-friends who condemned him that his trial was because of his sin. But what worsened Job’s condition as he tried to clear his innocence was the absence of God, His silence. Job couldn’t find God to acquit him and explain to him the cause of his trial.
Job said, “Look, I go forward, but He is not there, and backward, but I cannot perceive Him; when He works on the left hand, I cannot behold Him; when He turns to the right hand, I cannot see Him” (Job 23:8-9 New King James Version). Job looked for God but He was nowhere to be found. But towards the end of the book of Job, God answered him by asking him so many questions he couldn’t answer.
Eventually, God vindicated Job. He rebuked his friends and asked them to take seven oxen and seven sheep, go to Job, and give a burnt offering, and Job would pray for them. God restored Job and gave him twice as much as he had before (Job 42:7-10).
David also felt forsaken by God. “My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me? Why are You so far from helping Me, and from the words of My groaning? O My God, I cry in the daytime, but You do not hear; and in the night season, and am not silent” (Psalm 22:1-2 New King James Version). Maybe you can relate to this. You have prayed all manners of prayers and did all kinds of fasting; you have examined yourself and asked God to forgive your sins if any. But God seems to have turned a deaf ear to your cry. He seems to be far away. You feel forsaken.
David said, “To You I will cry, O LORD my Rock: Do not be silent to me, lest, if You are silent to me, I become like those who go down to the pit” (Psalm 28:1 New King James Version). Also, David, in Psalm 35:22, cried to the LORD not to be silent and far from him. In Psalm 109:1, he also pleaded with the LORD not to be silent. The writer of Psalm 83 made a similar plea: “Do not keep silent, O God! Do not hold Your peace, and do not be still, O God!” (Verse 1 New King James Version).)
If you’re feeling forsaken by God, you’re not alone. In Psalm 38:21-22, David cried, “Do not forsake me, O LORD; O my God, be not far from me! Make haste to help me, O Lord, my salvation!” (New King James Version). Communication is two-way. This is also true of prayer. Praying without getting an answer or experiencing God’s silence could make one feel forsaken. But this is not true.
God is not only everywhere; He is with His children, no matter what they’re going through. While it is human to feel that God is nowhere to be found or is far away from you (child of God) because you cannot see the evidence of His presence such as spectacular events in your life, answers to your prayers, or a positive change in your situation, believe His promise that He is with you. His Word is superior evidence.
God is with you in your situation even when you cannot see Him. God is near you even when He seems to be far from you. Hebrews 13:5 says God has said He will never leave you or forsake you. Therefore, hold on to God’s promise. He said when you passed through the waters, He would be with you; and through the rivers, they would not overflow you and when you walked through the fire, you would not be burned, nor would the flame scorch you (Isaiah 43:2).
Your feelings are not superior to His Word. God’s presence is more than feelings. Walk by faith, not by sight (2 Corinthians 5:7). Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen (Hebrews 11:1).
God says He is with you. Believe this even when you cannot feel it. “Be strong and of good courage, do not fear nor be afraid of them; for the LORD your God, He is the One who goes with you. He will not leave you nor forsake you” (Deuteronomy 31:6 New King James Version). Also, Isaiah 41:10 says, “Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, Yes, I will help you, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand” (New King James Version).
Don’t let the challenges of life and the feeling that you are alone lead you into depression. You’re not alone. Don’t listen to the lie of the devil. God is with you. No matter your situation, God will never leave you or forsake you. Any time Satan wants you to feel forsaken by God, reject it and confess the promise of God that He is with you forever.
Be careful. Even the Son of God, Jesus Christ felt forsaken by His Father when He was on the cross. He cried out with a loud voice, “Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani? that is, My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?” (Matthew 27:46 New King James Version). This is also recorded in Mark 15:34. But God never forsook Him. He only allowed Jesus to fulfil His mission for coming to the earth.
God is with His children. Sinners don’t enjoy that presence even though God is everywhere. He is far from sinners because they’ve gone far from Him. But when they repent and return to Him, He will return to them. They will find Him if they seek Him. “And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart” (Jeremiah 29:13 New King James Version).
The Lord is near to those who have a broken heart and saves such as have a contrite spirit (Psalm 34:18). God loves those who love Him, and those who seek Him diligently will find me (Proverbs 8:17). Those who seek the Lord will find Him if they seek Him with all their heart and soul (Deuteronomy 4:29). God has not forsaken you. He is with you. He is near. Psalm 119:151a says, “You are near, O LORD” (New King James Version).
What do you do when God seems distant? Continue to have faith in God and worship Him. Feed on His Word regularly. Read what God has spoken already in the Bible even if He seems to be silent in your life. Don’t give up while you await an end to your negative situation and the beginning of a new and better season.
Don’t forsake fellowship with the other believers (Hebrews 10:25). Galatians 6:2 says we should bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ. Don’t let the devil isolate you. Sow seed into other people’s lives. It could be the gift of your time or material things. Minister to them. Also, open yourself to encouragement and support from fellow believers. God never planned that you would go through life alone. God is with you. He is not far from you.
If you are not born again, you need to give your life to Jesus now. I urge you to take the following steps: *Admit that you are a sinner and you cannot save yourself and repent of your sins. *Confess Jesus as your Lord and Saviour. *Renounce your past way of life – your relationship with the devil and his works. *Invite Jesus into your life. *As a mark of seriousness to mature in the faith, start attending a Bible-believing and Bible-teaching church. There they will teach you how to grow in the Kingdom of God.
Kindly say this prayer now: O Lord God, I come unto You today. I know I am a sinner and I cannot save myself. I believe that Jesus is the Son of God who died on the cross to save me and resurrected the third day. I repent of my sins and confess Jesus as my Lord and Saviour. I surrender my life to Jesus now and invite Him into my heart. By this prayer, I know I am saved. Thank You, Jesus, for saving me and making me a child of God.
I believe you have said this prayer from your heart. Congratulations! You will need to join a Bible-believing and Bible-teaching church in your area where they will teach you how to live your new life in Christ Jesus. I pray that you flourish like the palm tree and grow like the cedar of Lebanon. May you grow into Christ in all things and become all God wants you to be. I will be glad to hear from you. The Lord be with you.
PRAYER POINTS: Thank you, Father, that You are with me always even when it seems You are nowhere to be found. I thank You because You will never leave me or forsake me. Holy Spirit, help me never to give up as I trust God for a new and better season. I will walk by faith and not by sight in Jesus’ name.
(For over 800 in-depth and powerful messages by T. O. Banso, visit www.cedarministry.org).
T. O. Banso is the President, Cedar Ministry International, Abuja, Nigeria.
Phone No: +2348155744752, +2348033113523
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