Where is He? Finding God in Desperate Times

1.         Where is He?
            It always amazed me that the minute I dropped my two year old off in the Church nursery, the moment I turned the corner, she would freak out. As soon as she was not aware of my presence, she wanted no part of it!
            That’s the way we feel when we look up and all of a sudden it appears as if the Lord has left us alone. Without notice, something unravels, a tragedy hits us hard, or we experience some loss or misfortune that makes us think that God has left us alone to fend for ourselves. In the midst of trials and problems, there is often confusion and pain that obscures the light and presence of God. Where is He?
            Moses felt the same way. God had personally spoken to Moses: told him that He knew him by name and that Moses had found favor in His sight. Moses desire was to progressively become more deeply and intimately acquainted with [God], and Moses wanted to find favor in God’s sight. Moses said If Your Presence does not go with me, do not carry us up from here! (Exodus 33.13-15)  God had promised that His presence would go with Moses and He would give Moses rest. Yet often God’s presence was obscured from Moses by the problems of leading approximately one million complaining and murmuring people through a desert.
            But God heard Moses prayer: God wanted Moses to have a faith that knew God’s presence despite his circumstances.
            Where are YOU? Are you going through a situation, a time, a season where you feel God is not there?  Like Job, do you cry out, MY SPIRIT is broken, my days are spent (snuffed out); the grave is ready for me.(Job 17:1 AMP) I’m not letting up—I’m standing my ground. My complaint is legitimate. God has no right to treat me like this— it isn’t fair! If I knew where on earth to find him, I’d go straight to him. I’d lay my case before him face-to-face, give him all my arguments firsthand. I’d find out exactly what he’s thinking, discover what’s going on in his head. I travel East looking for him—I find no one; then West, but not a trace; I go North, but he’s hidden his tracks; then South, but not even a glimpse. (Job 23:2–5 and 8–9 MESSAGE)
            Are you like Joseph, hanging onto a coat and a dream that you believed was from God, yet thirteen years later after being sold into slavery and put in prison wrongfully still no sign of God seeing you?
            From the time Abraham lived in Egypt until the time the Israelites were delivered was 430 years. Do you, like the Israelites, feel imprisoned in Egypt: so burdened to make bricks without straw, and carry so many burdens for the pomp and majesty of worldliness that you feel that you can never get to live the life God promised?
            Do you, like David, say, I will ask God, my rock, Why have you forgotten me? Why must I walk around in mourning? With a shattering blow to my bones, my enemies taunt me. They ask me all day long, Where is your God? (Psalm 42.9-11)
2.         How can you find Him?
v Strengthen and encourage yourself in the Lord.
            When David lost everything, he encouraged and strengthened himself in the Lord his God and with trust in Him (1 Sam 30.6)
            When Hezekiah was threatened to be taken out, he ran into the presence of the Lord and laid out everything his enemies threatened, giving it to the Lord to handle (2 Kings 19.14)
            Job dialogued with God until His spiritual eyes saw God.  (Job 42.5)
            Jacob wrestled with God (Genesis 32.28).
v Call a prayer meeting; get confirmation from other believers from what God has done in their lives.
            Mary ran to Elizabeth for confirmation of what God had done (Luke 1.39).
          Jehoshaphat was faced with double armies against him, and he sought the Lord and called a prayer meeting to ask the Lord for help (2 Chronicles 20.3-4) He cried out to God and looked to Him (2 Chronicles 20.9 and 12) And Jahaziel reminded Jehoshaphat not to be afraid, because the battle isn’t his but God’s. You shall not need to fight in this battle; take your positions, stand still, and see the deliverance of the Lord [Who is] with you, O Judah and Jerusalem. Fear not nor be dismayed. Tomorrow go out against them, for the Lord is with you. (2 Chron 20.15b; 17) They Israelites didn’t even have to fight, but the enemies killed each other!
v Pray and praise God.
            In the inner dungeon, with their feet in stocks, Paul and Silas prayed and sung hymns to God while imprisoned, until the chains fell off (Acts 16.24-26)
v Put your hope and trust in God before you even see Him working.
            Why are you discouraged, my soul? Why are you so restless? Put your hope in God, because I will still praise him. He is my savior and my God.”
(Psalms 42:11 GWORD)
            Although Joseph hadn’t received his answer for 13 years, he testified to Pharaoh that God was faithful to shortly bring to pass what He established. (Genesis 41.32)
            Esther decided to do what had to be done and trust God for the answer, and if she perished, she would perish (Esther 4.16).
3.         Mature Faith
            God wants us to grow up. Just as I left my toddler and wanted her to know that I was there for her even if she couldn’t see me, God wants us to know that even when we suffer loss or go through tragedy, He is there to walk with us and help us through. He will even turn all things around for our good if we let Him. He doesn’t operate us like His puppets, but as a loving parent, He is there to help us heal through our hurts and pains and to bring us to ultimate victory. Put your hope and trust in God even if you don’t see or understand what you are going through.        
            Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego declared to King Nebuchadnezzar, If you throw us in the fire, the God we serve can rescue us from your roaring furnace and anything else you might cook up, O king. But even if he doesn’t, it wouldn’t make a bit of difference, O king. We still wouldn’t serve your gods or worship the gold statue you set up. (Daniel 3:17–18 MESSAGE)
            Even if the fig tree does not bloom and the vines have no grapes, even if the olive tree fails to produce and the fields yield no food, even if the sheep pen is empty and the stalls have no cattle— even then, I will be happy with the LORD. I will truly find joy in God, who saves me. The LORD Almighty is my strength. He makes my feet like those of a deer. He makes me walk on the mountains. (Habakkuk 3:17–19 GWORD)
            For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts. (Isaiah 55:8–9 KJV)
            He sees, He hears, He cares.  The Lord told Moses, I have seen the misery of my people in Egypt, and I have heard them crying out because of the slave drivers. I know how much they’re suffering. I have come to rescue themand to bring them to a good land… He told him, I have heard their cries, and I have seen their oppression. (Exodus 3:7–10 GWORD)
            Job’s faith declared, For I know that my Redeemer andVindicator lives, and at last He [the Last One] will stand upon the earth. (Job 19:25 AMP)
4.         Know His Presence and His Strength With You Even if the Situation Doesn’t Change
            Many in Hebrews 11 won divine approval by [means of] their faith, but did not receive the fulfillment of what was promised. (Hebrews 11:39 AMP)
            Although the Israelites had to wander 40 years, God in His manifold mercies did not forsake them in the wilderness: the pillar of the cloud departed not from them by day, to lead them in the way; neither the pillar of fire by night, to show them light, and the way wherein they should go.He gave His spirit to instruct them and He fed them and gave them water. He sustained them for 40 years [so that] they lacked nothing; their clothes waxed not old, and their feet swelled not. (Deuteronomy 9.19-21)
            In Matthew 17, at the mount of Jesus’ transfiguration – Moses was there in the promised land: Jesus ultimately fulfilled all of the promises God made to Moses.
5.         See the Situation Through Eyes of Eternity
            But what of that?] For I consider that the sufferings of this present time (this present life) are not worth being compared with the glory that is about to be revealed to us and in us and for us and conferred on us!  (Romans 8.18)
            Joni Eareckson Tada, who never was healed from quadriplegia, said, He has chosen not to heal me, but to hold me. The more intense the pain, the closer His embrace… Maybe the truly handicapped people are the ones that don’t need God as much.
            For which cause we faint not; but though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day. For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory; While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen areeternal. (2 Corinthians 4:16–18 KJV)

            So we’re not giving up. How could we! Even though on the outside it often looks like things are falling apart on us, on the inside, where God is making new life, not a day goes by without his unfolding grace. These hard times are small potatoes compared to the coming good times, the lavish celebration prepared for us. There’s far more here than meets the eye. The things we see now are here today, gone tomorrow. But the things we can’t see now will last forever. (2 Corinthians 4:16–18 MESSAGE)