You may have thought it.
You may have even said it.
I know I have at particularly challenging junctures in my life. There were times when I felt like my God was hiding from me; on purpose.
There have been situations in my life when I needed a word, an insight, some kind of guidance or help from my God and instead I got ‘nothing.’ Just silence. Even when I searched through Scripture for something to assist me; nothing resonated.
It’s frustrating; especially when I have had so many occasions in life when answers and words of direction and guidance have come from my God with great clarity.
There are just times in life when God seems to hide.
The Prophet Isaiah affirmed this perplexing truth today with his words:
I will wait for the LORD, who is hiding his face from the house of Jacob, I will put my trust in Him. Isaiah 8:17 NIV
So, it’s true. We aren’t crazy. God does hide His face from us at times.
So, what’s the point of that?
One answer is found in Isaiah’s response, “I will put my trust in Him.”
The word trust comes from the Hebrew transliterated word qavah. Other bible translations use the word ‘wait’ instead of ‘trust’ as the New International Version does in Isaiah 8:17. Qavah means to hope, to wait with eagerness and to be bound together. Qavah in the literal sense means to bind together like a twisted rope.
To wait in a God who hides His face from us at times requires trust, hope and patience. Waiting is like a rope that is bound and twisted tight and secure with our hope, our patience and our trust.
We feel that way sometimes when we’re waiting, don’t we? We feel like we’re getting twisted and squeezed in times of severe testing and extended times of waiting. So we were right about that too! We are being twisted and bound together with our God in ways we never may have conceived before.
I don’t know what you are waiting for right now.
I am certain of this though. We are usually waiting for something at one time or another. The point of this verse is that Isaiah is not waiting for anyone or anything other than God Himself. He sought the Lord for His word, His timing and His purpose. And Isaiah was willing to be bound like a twisted rope during his period of waiting. In this way, the will of the Lord would be accomplished.
There is so much more going on that is beyond our comprehension or imagination when we wait on our God. In Isaiah’s case, some of those things he was waiting on would not be revealed for another 700 years! Isaiah chose to wait upon His God regardless of the timing or the outcome.
Are we willing to do what it takes to trust and to wait in such a way?
Are we willing to be bound like a twisted rope as we trust and wait for the honor and glory of the Kingdom of God to be revealed?
Our God may hide his face at times for many other reasons. He may hide his face as an act of love, mercy and grace. Sometimes, we can be pretty wicked and unkind. We can be hypocritical, envious, and mean. We may be filled with worry and fear. We can be impatient and demanding Our God may hide his face from us because we’re focusing more on us, than we are on Him. It’s possible, and I’m no expert, that our God may be saying, “When you’re really ready to engage with me, let me know. In the meantime, you can do things your way. I’ll see you when you’re really ready to see me.”
Matthew Henry wrote: “Though, for the present, he hides his face from the house of Jacob, yet they know where to find him and recover the sight of him; he dwells in Mount Zion. Isaiah therefore resolved to wait upon the Lord and to look for him; to attend his motions even while he hid his face, and to expect with a humble assurance his returns in a way of mercy. Those that wait upon God by faith and prayer may look for him with hope and joy. When we have not sensible comforts we must still keep up our observance of God and obedience to him, and then wait awhile; at evening time it shall be light.”
Sometimes waiting and trusting requires us to be twisted to wring out our selfishness, self-absorption and sin so that we can approach the merciful throne of God with repentant hearts.
Yet, there is one thing we must remember. Even though our God may hide his face, that doesn’t mean that He is not around. He is. He is omniscient. He is always present. He always sees where we are and always knows what we are doing and thinking. Even though we may wonder if He is near and wonder why He may be hiding from us, we can trust in His presence.
I know the LORD is always with me. I will not be shaken, for he is right beside me. Psalm 16:8 NLT
So it’s true. Our God may hide His face from us at times.
He may hide because of something sinful in us that He refuses to condone.
He may conceal Himself because it’s an opportunity for us to tighten up our resolve to trust Him no matter what the situation.
Or He may choose to go undetected because of some Kingdom purpose that may not be revealed to us for awhile or even in our life time.
Whatever the reason for His disappearing act from time to time, I will be like Isaiah and keep on looking for my God in expectant hope and patience; bound in trust like a twisted rope.
Photo by Oh Kaye of Flickr