Summary: God’s work and power are not always obvious, however, his is working and in more powerful ways that we understand.
I am one of those people who would like for God to show his power and do something spectacular. I would like to see some fire fall from heaven or hear God shout from his throne. It would prove to some people that he is there and that he is powerful. I wish I could lay my hands on people and they would always be healed. I wouldn’t even mind if people fainted under the power of the Spirit when I laid hands on them. I would like to have someone who was paralyzed come to the front of the church in a wheelchair and then do a dance after we prayed for them. I would like to conduct a funeral in the church that turned into a resurrection. It would make a nice headline for the paper. I would like to see the lives of drug addicts and dysfunctional people healed and completely turned around after they were dramatically converted at the altar of the church. I would like for God to make me completely pure so that I would never sin. I wish God would powerfully touch me so that I would never wrestle with lust, greed or anger again. It would be great if being a Christian meant that I would never have any problems after coming to Jesus.
But God does not open the heavens for us to see him. He is silent. He is more like the farmer in Jesus’ parable who plants a vineyard and goes away — or at least seems to. More often we find ourselves struggling with a problem or some sin and saying, “God where are you? Why is this so hard? Couldn’t you just wipe out the devil, burn up the evil people in the world and burn up the sin in me? Couldn’t you just solve all the problems people have whey they pray so they would know that you are there?”
When we are in the middle of some struggle it is easy to think that all there are are problems. When we face evil or tragedy, it is easy to focus on them and only see what is wrong in the world. It is easy to despair and to believe that the world is so messed up that there is no hope for us.
I was sitting out on our deck late one evening last week and smelled something very unpleasant. Someone in the neighborhood had allowed their dog to roam and he thought our yard looked like a good place to leave a surprise. I was sitting there just fuming. I could have been grateful I had a yard, but I was not. I could have been grateful that I had a deck that was attached to a house, but I was not. I was focused on dog dung and I was mad. But I leaned back for a second and caught a glimpse of the stars overhead. I suddenly realized I had missed the beauty of the evening — not to mention the beauty of life. It dawned on me that God has more important things on his mind — and so should I. Suddenly the bigness of the world and the bigness of God began to grip me. I was so focused on an annoyance that I lost sight of the big picture of who God is and what he is doing. I began to feel very insignificant and my heart turned to the worship of a God who is doing something so big that my mind will never wrap around it. I realized I frequently do this — get stuck on something small and negative and miss the positive, bigger picture, the remarkable, the miraculous. As long as I was focused on my yard I could not see the stars. The same attitude is called for even in the larger problems we face.