Altar Call – Opelika-Auburn News
October 11, 2015
God hide from us?
folks have a secret hideout inside a home closet. That seems like a better idea
than a five-hundred pound safe. Hideouts are useful in guarding precious things
were important to some of us when we were children. I can remember having a
secret hideout in the woods behind our house. And I can remember hiding in the
darkness of my closet when one of my parents was calling me. Some of us can
recall the fun of playing “hide and seek” with other children when we were
we grow older and indulge in what the church calls “sin,” we may wish we could
hide from God. Or we may harbor the faint hope that God was so busy he did not
see what we were doing. The Bible ruins that idea by reminding us that even the
darkness is light to God. King David even said that if he hid out in hell God
would find him there.
it is good news that God is everywhere and never hides from us. We may try to
hide from him but God does not play hide and seek. God may be silent at times
but never hides. Add to God’s omnipresence the fact that he loves us and you
have some really good news about our Creator.
then, is God doing? He is waiting, yearning for us to find him. Yet,
ironically, when we find God we discover that it was he who found us! He wants
an intimate relationship with us so that we know and love him as a child loves
a father. But he waits, longingly, for us to seek him, to find him and be found
respects the freedom he has given us as his children so he chooses not to force
his way into our hearts. In love he waits, even as the father of the prodigal
son waited with open arms for his lost son to come home.
image of a waiting God does not mean that God is indifferent toward us. To the
contrary, the God we meet in the Bible is still in charge of his world. Though
global chaos may suggest that God is asleep or uncaring, God is still the
Mighty God who “holds the whole world in his hands.”
surprises God. When things appear dark and dreadful to us, God is not
discouraged. He knows what is going to happen. He has a plan. His plans for us are
good, always good.
every age the prophets of doom predict the collapse of the world. And disaster
does occur from time to time. But God always has his own prophets who remind us
that God has not resigned from the management of the world. Hundreds of years
ago one such prophet was Jeremiah. He warned the people of Judah that disaster
was coming. Then disaster came. Babylonia’s armies escorted the Jews out of
message was one of hope. He advised the people not to give up. He assured them
that the exile would end one day. In the meantime he advised the people to be
faithful to God even in captivity.
to feel sorry for yourselves, Jeremiah said. Do not indulge in self-pity. Get
busy doing positive things. Build homes. Plant gardens. Enjoy food from your
own gardens. Raise families. Give your sons and daughters in marriage so they
can have children and multiply. Get over your disappointments and enjoy life.
he said, that you are in Babylonia because God sent you there. You are where he
wants you to be just now. So work for the good of your new home town and pray
for its prosperity. Pray for the city of your captivity.
was strong medicine for the people to swallow. They were not to hate their
captors but pray for them to prosper. Your welfare, he told them, is dependent
upon the welfare of the city in which you now live.
received word that there were false prophets in Babylonia, telling lies to the
Jews. He warns the people not to believe the lies they were hearing. Instead
accept your punishment and understand that God is still in charge. When he has
finished punishing you, he will bring you back home. God will not fail to keep
his promise to bring you back to
gave us one of the most beautiful verses in the Bible: “For surely I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord, plans for
your welfare and not for harm, to give you a future with hope” (Jeremiah
was a message of hope for enslaved people! God has good plans for your life! It
is a message needed in today’s troubled world. Though God will allow bad things
to happen to us, it is never his intention to harm us.
will not be spared hard times. Jesus made this crystal clear when he said, “in this world you will have tribulation.”
We will have trouble. But when trouble comes, we can call upon God and he will
we are suffering we may suppose God is hiding from us. But listen to what
Jeremiah said to the captives: “If you
look for me wholeheartedly, you will find me.
I will be found by you,” says the Lord.
“I will end your captivity and restore your fortunes. I will gather you out of
the nations where I sent you and will bring you home again to your own land.”
articulated the offer. Jesus confirmed it with his life, death and
resurrection. Joy and intimacy with God are ours for the asking! His plans for
us are good. When we seek him with all our hearts, we will find him – and soon
rejoice that actually he found us! + + +