Oh God direct my paths!! Direct me, what way to go! I do not know where to turn. I can see this path, or that path. Yet I do not hear Your voice. Do you ever have this kind of prayer? Ever felt far from Him? Like He cannot hear you? Or you cannot feel Him?
Your response might be, “Maybe I’m not really listening. Maybe I need a time with You to be quiet, to be still”.
Be still and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!
You might ask God, “How did I get here?”
“I created you”.
“What did you create me for?”
To make Me famous, to bring Me glory and to have relationship with one another because I love you and I want you to know and love Me. This way others will know Me too.
Did God create me, so that He could know me and I could know Him? The Psalmist thought so.
Psalm 139 ESV
O Lord, you have searched me and known me!
2 You know when I sit down and when I rise up;
you discern my thoughts from afar.
3 You search out my path and my lying down
and are acquainted with all my ways.
4 Even before a word is on my tongue,
behold, O Lord, you know it altogether.
5 You hem me in, behind and before,
and lay your hand upon me.
6 Such knowledge is too wonderful for me;
it is high; I cannot attain it.
7 Where shall I go from your Spirit?
Or where shall I flee from your presence?
8 If I ascend to heaven, you are there!
If I make my bed in Sheol, you are there!
9 If I take the wings of the morning
and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea,
10 even there your hand shall lead me,
and your right hand shall hold me.
11 If I say, “Surely the darkness shall cover me,
and the light about me be night,”
12 even the darkness is not dark to you;
the night is bright as the day,
for darkness is as light with you.
13 For you formed my inward parts;
you knitted me together in my mother’s womb.
14 I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.
Wonderful are your works;
my soul knows it very well.
15 My frame was not hidden from you,
when I was being made in secret,
intricately woven in the depths of the earth.
16 Your eyes saw my unformed substance;
in your book were written, every one of them,
the days that were formed for me,
when as yet there was none of them.
17 How precious to me are your thoughts, O God!
How vast is the sum of them!
18 If I would count them, they are more than the sand.
I awake, and I am still with you.
19 Oh that you would slay the wicked, O God!
O men of blood, depart from me!
20 They speak against you with malicious intent;
your enemies take your name in vain.
21 Do I not hate those who hate you, O Lord?
And do I not loathe those who rise up against you?
22 I hate them with complete hatred;
I count them my enemies.
23 Search me, O God, and know my heart!
Try me and know my thoughts!
24 And see if there be any grievous way in me,
and lead me in the way everlasting!
David knew of his own innocence in this passage, and in others knew of his sins. What about when I know about my guilt? When I have become keenly aware of my constant battle with sin? There are days in the Christian walk when one can only see the sin that nailed one’s Savior to the tree. The pain of that knowledge, of knowing it is your sin, is almost too much to bear. David seems at peace with his life, even his sin seems to not bother him. Could he have known forgiveness?
Again, “Why am I here?”
Is it possible God wants to know me? Does God really want to know Stephanie Taylor? I had seen Him answer my prayers, over and over again! Especially for this kid Woody in Haiti. I prayed long and hard, 3 years, for him to get to go to school. Here he is, at school, top student in his testing!
David seems to point to a big God chase, where the God of the universe chased a man just to get to know him. Today I can say I might not be chased by God, but today I am chasing Him. I am like the lovesick tween, feverishly checking Facebook for His status update, Instagram for His latest pics. I am chasing, I am knocking, and I am searching like a private eye, like an archaeologist digging for a clue about my God.
“I cannot hear You God!” Ever had that statement fly past your lips? The psalmist said, “Where shall I go from your Spirit? Or where shall I flee from your presence?” (v.7). Like God is everywhere, inescapable.
Are you searching for Him? Desperate to know Him? Look at this God chase, where the writer of the Psalm, David, is explaining the relationship he has with God:
Psalm 23 NKJV
The Lord is my shepherd;
I shall not want.
2 He makes me to lie down in green pastures;
He leads me beside the still waters.
3 He restores my soul;
He leads me in the paths of righteousness
For His name’s sake.
4 Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil;
For You are with me;
Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.
5 You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies;
You anoint my head with oil;
My cup runs over.
6 Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me
All the days of my life;
And I will dwell[a] in the house of the Lord
Whether David was a young shepherd, or a fading leader we may never know but of this we can be sure he had experienced the presence of God enough to know that even when one cannot “hear” or “feel” God anymore – He is still all powerful. He is still in control. That in itself gives us comfort when we cannot recognize His direction, when we are lost.
Today I am feeling lost because I’m not hearing Him. He is silent and for the first time in my own life I’ve been saddled with the question, “Does God hate me?”
A few years ago while I was visiting Haiti, a missionary friend said to me, “I think God hates me.” Why that was the most preposterous thing I had ever heard! I came home and set my sites on praying for that guy. I couldn’t sleep I prayed and prayed. Here and there I sent him messages on Facebook with scriptures and all, he had to know God didn’t hate him. After all, “God loves us all”! Or so goes the popular mantra in the church. His statement completely baffled me, and made me think SO much! Here he was pouring out his life for God, among the poorest of the poor, yet he thought that! What could it mean?
So I questioned… Maybe God cannot look at us sometimes, maybe our sin is so mounted up, He has to back off. Maybe we have pursued our own way so long He gives His attention to a new younger version of ourselves or maybe we just forgot our faith. Could it be sin in the way, blocking that interaction between God and the man, God and me? I just couldn’t see it.
Please bare with me as I think out loud… maybe He backs off to see what we will do, maybe He wants to see if we will remain faithful even when we can’t hear or feel Him. I pay no attention to the air I breathe, because I’ve been breathing it for so long. But if you take it away I suddenly notice I need air! Could it be that God pulls back, to turn the chase on, with us in the pursuit?
Could it be we are not lost after all, just learning a new way to trust God? A way to trust Him even if He is no longer spoon feeding us?
Maybe He put us here, so we could not only be known by Him but have an adventure trying to find Him and know Him. I once read this fantastic old book by a fella named Gypsy Smith, called Your Boys. Gypsy had such a story to tell of sharing Jesus with some young soldiers. He told them how He could see Jesus even in the flowers. Maybe I’ve stopped looking for Him, and am experiencing a lack of His presence because it’s my turn to seek Him. Surely, this God who called on me so often would not suddenly desert me without a purpose.
If I have lost all His favor, all His tremendous blessing maybe it’s not because I did anything so wrong or maybe it is, maybe it’s all part of a master plan I cannot fully understand to begin with. After all He said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you” (Duet. 31:6). He hasn’t left me, He’s just given me time to think if I really want Him, if I’d be willing to pursue Him now.
When Job went through the endless tumult, it was a thing far above Job’s head that mandated it. It was a battlefield in the heavenly realms that caused it. How can I think God hates me, or I am lost from Him if it could just be a Job scenario – a time of testing?
OH God! This experience of not feeling You will not go wasted! You are teaching me something, teaching me to take time to seek You alone. Teaching me to trust what I know about You. It’s different than the gushy infatuation I had with You at the beginning, now it’s waiting on You, trusting in Your plan, standing on what I believe. It’s not about feelings now. It’s about truth. Do I really believe You love me? Do I really believe You are with me? Thank You for this time, it’s hard, even painful, but I thank You for it! Amen.