God is good, but He is not always understandable. Sometimes God does things that make no sense. Sometimes God is hidden when we need Him most.
The Road to Revelation
One of great stories of Jesus comes after his death and resurrection. Two of his (unnamed) disciples are walking from Jerusalem toward the village of Emmaus (Luke 24). As they walk, they talk about the sad events that have taken place. They discuss Jesus sham trial and cruel death, and then about the women who saw an empty tomb and swear they saw an angel telling them, “Jesus is alive!”
But they have no idea if Jesus is truly risen from the dead.
As they walk and talk, Jesus himself shows up along the road and asks to continue the journey with them. These disciples don’t realize it is Jesus. He’s hidden from them.
They resume their conversation, and bring this stranger up to speed on the events of the day. Jesus then begins to teach them why everything needed to take place as it did according to Scripture.
When the trio arrive in Emmaus, it’s dinner time, so they invite Jesus (still a stranger to them) to eat with them. Jesus, obviously some sort of rabbi, is invited to pray for the meal, and as Jesus prays, their eyes are opened. They see Jesus for who he is. Then, Jesus disappears.
Finding a Hidden God
Sometimes, even when we need God the most, God hides himself. He just doesn’t seem to be around. Psalms 18:11 says, “He made darkness his covering…” Yet, to be clear, the psalmist doesn’t say God isn’t near. He just says God is hidden from you.
At times, even the darkest of times, God too is hidden from us. So, what do you do when everything is dark? There are two important principles we learn from this passage. Here is where to begin when God is in hiding:
1. Continue walking.
The mistake too many of us make when everything around us is dark and God is hiding, is we stop. In fear and confusion, we stop walking. Our fear is we don’t want to make a mistake. We don’t want to do or say the wrong thing. It will be better if we just stay where we are. Don’t make that mistake. Keep walking.
It’s interesting to note in Luke’s retelling of the story of Jesus’ death and resurrection, it is to those who are doing something (anything) that Jesus appears first. An angel comes and speaks to the women at the tomb (could that have been Jesus?), and then Jesus himself walks with these two followers of Jesus.
If you feel like God has left you. If you look around and can’t see God in anything or anyone…keep walking. God respects your commitment to him in the dark and hard times more than you realize.
Yes, God is hidden. Keep walking.
2. Don’t walk alone.
Too many of us face dark times alone. We don’t want to be real about our unbelief, doubt and fear. Let’s take a lesson from these followers of Jesus. They didn’t know why Jesus had died, and they didn’t understand the empty tomb. But they kept walking, AND they didn’t walk alone.
Who walks with you when times are tough? Do you have someone you can turn to when God seems hidden? They don’t need to have answers, they just need to be willing to walk with you.
Again, it’s not just these two disciples who walk in the hard times together. It’s also the ladies who visit the tomb. Even the disciples in hiding…are hiding together. Don’t do life alone – especially in the hard times.
Yes, God is hidden. Walk with someone.
When Jesus finally reveals himself to the two disciples, they exclaim to each other, “Didn’t our hearts burn within us as he talked with us on the road and explained the Scriptures to us?” (Luke 24:32 NLT). As you continue to walk along the path in front of you with someone else, God will reveal himself to you. At that moment, you’ll look back at this or that event and say, “Didn’t our heart burn with us…” God was with us!
God will appear to you again. Soon. Until then continue to walk with a friend.