God is Missing

Job 23: 2

If only I knew where to find God, I would go to his throne and talk with him there.

Is this not heart-breaking? How sad! Have you read Job recently? It is quite the read. If you decide it is time for you to read it again, let me caution you. Do not take your doctrine from Job’s “friends.” You will see that God was none too pleased with their advice. Anyway, it is a very interesting book to read. We are in a very different place theologically than Job but some of the similarities are alarming.

You know the story, Job was living the high life and he loved God. Then Satan came along and destroyed everything Job had and loved, including his family. Job became very confused and eventually bitter. He worked it out in the end but throughout the book you hear him voice many of the doubts and complaints we have all thought.

Now, in his eighth speech he confesses plainly, “I don’t know where God is.” In the midst of his pain and devastation, he cannot find God. Let me ask you, where was God during this time? We believe God was within reach the whole time. Job was so busy blaming God that he couldn’t find him. I don’t think he tried. He believed God was in some far off place in the clouds separated from the woes of people.

We think differently today and yet . . . I would wager that over 90% of the people reading today’s devotional have thought the same thing Job said and felt as Job must have felt. Where is this God who is supposed to love us so immensely? Why is He allowing me to suffer?

Do you know where to find God? Do you know how to get to His throne room? Do you have a place you can go to speak with God? This is a matter that must be resolved! We cannot leave this to chance any longer. You are entitled to speak with God all the time and you need to.

When I first began learning to talk with God face to face, I had to get out of his throne room. When I was in the throne room, I always felt like a conscripted soldier kneeling at the throne awaiting my marching orders. This was not the posture of a love relationship. It was servitude. I am happy to serve my God, but He was not happy. He didn’t want a servant, nor a soldier. He wanted a child. I was not ready to be a vulnerable, loving child at that time, but I needed to learn to meet Him on more level ground; I needed to be able to speak with Him, actually talk with Him.

I began by picturing the two of us sitting at my conference room table. I could look across the table and see Him. He was in the dimensions of a normal person rather than a gigantic God. I could look at Him and not be intimidated or humbled into servitude. We began there. I could sit in the comfort of my living room but still picture us at the conference room table. With my mind’s eye trained on Him, I could talk with Him, and I began to learn to hear Him.

We’ve come a long way since then. Now He rides my bike with me. Imagine the picture of me, Yahweh, the Holy Spirit and Jesus all riding my bike together. Hilarious, right? I tried leaving Jesus and HS home, but they go everywhere I go, and they go everywhere He goes so we just had to invite them too. Then there was the day I was aware of angels with me too. Look how far we have come from kneeling at the foot of the throne. Now we look like a circus act.

Where is God Job? Where is His throne room? He is right there with you right now. He doesn’t need a throne or a throne room. He is happier sitting beside the creek or on the beach with you. Close your eyes. Picture Yahweh in a cozy chair across from you where you are both seated next to a crackling fire in the fireplace. Or picture the two of you in a two person kayak. Whatever your comfort spot is, close your eyes and see it. Then see Yahweh right there with you. Now, open up your mouth and say, right out loud, whatever it is you’ve been wanting to talk with Him about. Leave the holy prayers for Sunday and just speak. Talk with your best friend. He is right there with you, right now. How’s that?

Where Am I?

Galatians 2: 20

I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me, and delivered Himself up for me.

This is a beautiful verse, one full of the grace of God and the sacrificial love of Christ. Yet, there was a day when the ideas expressed here challenged me. I wasn’t sure I wanted to die. Even though I pursued God relentlessly, there was a part of me that held back. There was a part of me who had reservations. What does it mean to die to self and live to Christ? What happens when we completely give our lives over to Christ so that the life we presently live is Christ in us?

When I was a young Christian I was on fire for Christ but I wasn’t sure what this meant. Maybe many of you have grown past this but perhaps there are just a few who can relate to the challenge I wrestled with. I wanted to be with Christ. I desired deep, meaningful fellowship with Jesus but I didn’t want to give up who I was. I wondered, “If I give myself to you wholly will I get lost? Where am I if I am in you? Am I afraid of losing my identity? Who will I be? Will I be me?” For all my faults, I liked who I was and I wasn’t sure I wanted to stop being me.

This may sound silly to you but I wondered if I would still get to do the worldly things that I enjoy doing such as kayaking and bike riding. I had some thoughts in the back of my mind that I could not be holy and enjoy these activities. Of course, you know the answer. Jesus loves kayaking and Father is an avid cyclist. We do those things together. In fact, many times I rather ride or kayak without other people because that is Dad time. When we all get to heaven, I fully intend to go kayaking with Jesus. I may do it every day. Who knows? They enjoy all those things. The Scriptures say that God “richly supplies us with all things to enjoy” (1 Timothy 6: 17). He isn’t trying to take these things away from us. He is the one who is supplying them. The meaning of a life in and with Christ is that we get to do all these things with the Father, the Son and the Spirit. These activities are actually more fun now than they were because I get to spend that time with some of my very best friends.

I am still me even though I have given myself to Christ. I am just becoming a better version of me. I am Ivey 2.0. The life of Christ is in me. It is coursing through my veins, suffusing my muscles. He is even in my breath. He isn’t taking away from my former life. He has given me new life, more life, and better life. I am dying to the brokenness of the world and being reborn daily by the renewal of my mind in Christ. He opens new doors in my heart, mind and spirit and with each one he breathes new and abundant life into me.

If you have ever been concerned about getting lost in Christ, I have only encouragement for you. There is no downside to letting your former self pass away because the reborn, renewed self is so much more fun to hang out with. If you truly die to self, you will arise with healing in your wings. Jesus will only move into the rooms of your heart which you allow though. You may have been a Christian for 40 years by now but there may still be areas of your heart that are verboten to God. My advice is: throw open the doors and invite Him in. It is all good.