Adapted by our team from Pastor Louie’s Message, Where is God?
Where is God?
It’s a valid question and one that no one should feel shame about asking. One of the wonderful attributes of God is that He isn’t afraid of our questions. Our searching for God gives Him another chance to put His Glory and His overarching story on display.
Besides, this is hardly a new question.
It’s the very same question that has bounced around the minds of believers and skeptics for thousands of years.
Where is God?
Our story as followers of Jesus centers around three days in history. It’s fair to assume that most of us are incredibly familiar with two of those days. We can retell the stories from memory. When their names are mentioned, images spring to mind instantly. Yes, we know all about Good Friday, the night Jesus was betrayed and crucified, and Easter Sunday hardly needs an essay about the empty grave for you to remember it.
But what about the second of these three days? What about day two?
Very few messages of hope ever sprung out of the second day. Day two is only mentioned in one of the Gospels, and even that is a brief mention of the sealing of Jesus’ tomb with the placement of a large rock. So why is it so important? Because two thousand years ago, people who had seen Jesus, people who had loved Him, and even the people who had killed Him were all asking the same question:
Where is God?
Still feeling shame for asking the question? Don’t. Because just like all those years ago, God wants to use that same question, Where is God?, to shine a light on what He was doing then, and what He is still doing today in the middle of a global pandemic.
- He is near.
When the angel visited Mary, she was told that her son would be named Emmanuel, God with us. This wasn’t a pleasantry. God knew that we would always need Jesus in close proximity, to be near to us, even in the darkest day—even after His death. Think about what it says in John’s gospel:
Early on the first day of the week, while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene went to the tomb and saw that the stone had been removed from the entrance. So she came running to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one Jesus loved, and said, “They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we don’t know where they have put him!” So Peter and the other disciple started for the tomb. Both were running, but the other disciple outran Peter and reached the tomb first.
They RAN to the tomb. By all accounts, this was only a few hundred yards, half a mile away at the most. The Apostles had spent the night locked away, terrified at the uncertainty of their fate, and asking, where is God?, yet He had been close the whole time. God is near to you today, too.
- He is working
God does what only He can do. For 28 hours, the time between the ending of day one and the beginning of day three according to the Jewish tradition, Jesus fully man and fully God, gave His life, conquered death on behalf of all of us, and rose again. What was impossible became possible. Where there was eternal separation because of rebellion, peace was made between God and man. Jesus did all of this, while those who loved him most were wondering, where is God?
- He is giving grace to all.
Looking around the world right now, it’s hard to see how it will all shake out, how we will preserve, and how we will make it through. But God’s scripture says that …He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. Mathew 5:45. It’s not up to us to muster the strength or the patience to endure this second day. God is giving us His grace in order to accomplish what He wants to through each of us. In Noah’s day, he was given the tools to overcome wickedness, in Jesus’ day, religiosity. God has given us everything we need to not only make it through this, but to make something of it.
- He is bringing the greatest result of all: salvation of many.
You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives. Genesis 50:20
All throughout history, whenever the ordinary is upset, people turn to look at the extraordinary. We said last week, “Nothing happens on Earth that doesn’t pass through the filter of God’s sovereign plans and His desire to give us the very best, which is Himself.” There is not a moment in time that God is not putting Himself on display in every situation so that people can see His grace, His love, His goodness and kindness, and turn towards Him. He is teaching us about Himself, about His people, and about His gift called Sabbath.
Sabbath is God’s gift to mankind, so we would never miss the magnitude of the absolute and uncontested sufficiency of God to both create all things and fully rescue all those He has made.
While heaven may seem quiet on day two, it is actually erupting with the praise of the victory of Jesus. But the silence isn’t wasted. The silence teaches us things about ourselves we couldn’t otherwise learn:
We are learning:
We are not owners. We are stewards.
We are guests for relationships and entrepreneurship.
We are not the Maker. We are made.
It’s about His glory. Not our glory.
We are dependent. Not independent.
We are not in control. God is in control.
So, where is God?
Right where He has always been, in control and holding us in His strong hand.