God Is Not Gone
“I go east, but he is not there. I go west, but I cannot find him. I do not see him in the north, for he is hidden. I look to the south, but he is concealed. But he knows where I am going.”
One day last fall, I was feeling overwhelmed. My husband and I were in California, celebrating our anniversary, but it wasn’t pretty. I was physically sick and didn’t even have the energy to wash my hair.
We sat out on a big rock overlooking the Pacific Ocean. At some point, sitting there, I said to him, “I want to jump in that ocean and swim as far as I can and not swim back for a long time.” I never say things like that, so it scared him.
I didn’t want my life to be over. I just wanted to escape the pressures of it for a while.
Sometimes we mistakenly think if we build a good enough life, we will never have thoughts of wanting to run away from it. But it’s not true. Even the best life on earth will still be a life in which we long for relief from its pain and imperfection.
In moments of feeling overwhelmed, the words of Job 23:8-10a feel particularly relatable: “I go east, but he is not there. I go west, but I cannot find him. I do not see him in the north, for he is hidden. I look to the south, but he is concealed. But he knows where I am going.”
God feels hidden. He feels far away. You can’t see traces of Him. When Job uttered these words, he had lost nearly everything he loved. And yet, after expressing his angst, he relayed a sentiment of confidence in these seven words: “But he knows where I am going” (Job 23:10a).
Job didn’t need to know where God was because he trusted that God knew where he was.
If you feel overwhelmed, you are not alone. If you want to escape the pressures of life, know that sometimes we all have that feeling. But feelings don’t change the truth:
God is not gone. The silence of God in our waiting and worrying can make us feel desperate. The prevalence of evil in this world can seem out of control. And yet we have proof throughout Scripture that He is forever present.
God knows, so you don’t have to. Breathe a sigh of relief. It’s not your job to know how to work out that situation … how to right that wrong … how in the world to overcome your limitations. The world is not in your control. You can’t see the future. What if you said the words “God knows” and rested in His reliability? How would that help you rest versus continuously wrestle?
God’s omniscience — His intimate knowledge of things past, present and future, both in the world and your world — means that there is not one thing you have faced, are facing or will face that He does not know about.
Right now, you may be making plans, but He is handling the things you cannot. The comfort and relief you are looking for cannot be found in more self-help; they’re found in the understanding that God sees the injustice no one else sees and will one day make it right. In ways you don’t even realize, He is holding your life together.
God is not gone. He sees you. Your worries, questions of “why” and feelings of overwhelm do not change the reality of who He is and what He knows about your life and future.
Good news: You’ll never get away from that.
Dear Lord, thank You for knowing and seeing all. Thank You that You’re not gone, even when You feel absent. Help us trust the reliability of Your omniscience. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.