For the last couple of weeks, I have heard many encouraging words. But I have also heard a message or two about where is God at a time like this? It’s always the question when trouble comes, right? One of the messages I heard recently from Pastor Jack Hibbs concerned the church of Ephesus in the Book of Revelation.
Jesus has been given the authority by God the Father to judge all things. During Jesus’ time on earth, He did not judge (condemn) but came to save (rescue) us from our sins. He exchanged our sin debt for His life – He was the Sacrificial Lamb who took away our sins by His blood being poured out for us (by death on a cross).
After Jesus’ ascension back to heaven, His role has changed. He will no longer by the Sacrificial Lamb but the Lion of Judah when He returns. Through His mercy though, He offers warnings to His people. When He was walking this earth, He spoke of the Good News that the Kingdom of God was near. He asked all to repent of their sins. He looked at sinners and told them He forgave them. He looked on the people with compassion. He healed them; drove out demons and caused the blind to see and the deaf to hear. That was then; what’s going on now?
Jesus still looks on us with compassion. He still sees us as sheep without a shepherd; lost and wandering in the desert looking for food and water. However, He warns us through His Word that time will come when we have to own up to our sins. We will face Him one day as a judge. For those who know Jesus as Lord and Savior, His judgment will be based on what we have done with what we were given. For those who do not know Jesus as Lord and Savior will be judged based on the sins they committed. We will all be given an eternal sentence – it just depends on whether it’s life or death.
This all seems a bit harsh, right? Sorry, just writing what I know to be true. However, there is still Good News to be shared in this day and time. Jesus did come to save the lost and to bring living water and daily bread to those who would seek Him. The Kingdom of God is still near and He still wants us to repent of our sins. He still forgives and gives us life everlasting when we turn toward Him. There is no doom and gloom when we received the free gift He offers us. He is still the Rescuer and the Redeemer.
In Revelation, we find seven letters to churches Jesus chose to give a warning before their influence is removed from them (their lamp stand). It can be said these churches represent the Church through the ages. It could also represent our own hearts concerning Jesus. Jesus warns the churches of their lack of zeal for the Lord. He also told them to repent and turn back to Him – to those who have ears, let them hear.
If we wonder where God is at this time, look to God’s Word. God is speaking today just as He was in biblical times. However, are we paying attention? I do not believe God caused these things to occur, but I do believe God has allowed these things for our good and for His glory. I believe He is using these times to get our attention.
The distractions have been taken away. Our “busyness” has been put on hold. There is nothing to fill our time with going back and forth – chasing after the wind as Solomon put it in Ecclesiastes. There is silence wherever you turn. Very few cars on the roads, people are not gathering in different places; and life has slowed down to an almost stop. Every worship center around the world has closed regardless of religion. So, why the silence?
God speaks clearly in the silence.
When the prophet Elijah wanted to see God, God hid him in the cleft of a rock. God was not in the powerful wind that tore the mountains apart or the earthquake or fire; but when Elijah heard a gentle whisper, he pulled his cloak over his face and went to stand before the Lord at the mouth of the cave (1 Kings 19:11-13).
It is silence that brings His presence. Are we willing to step into the cleft of the rock in order to hear Him? We haven’t experienced this type of silence in so long, it’s a bit scary. However, it’s never a scary thing to be with God. Peace beyond understanding is what He gives in His presence.
There are many words in the Bible to give us encouragement for such a time as this. Be strong and courageous (Joshua 1:6-9); I’ll be with you wherever you go (Deuteronomy 31:6). When I find myself in circumstances beyond my control, every time God brings Isaiah 41:10 to mind:
So do not fear, for I am with you;
do not be dismayed, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you and help you;
I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.
God is speaking. Cover your face and listen to Him. Lean into this time. Learn from it. Make this a pivotal time in your life and also your family’s life. Jesus is here with us and for us and is upholding us in this time. Be assured of His presence in the silence.
Lord, give us ears to hear and a heart that is obedient to what You say. Forgive us and help us turn away from these sins of ours and turn to You and only You. May You once again look upon us with favor as we humbly come before You. Heal our land as only You can do for the sake of Your Name and for Your glory. Amen.