Have you ever experienced times in your life when God seems strangely silent? You pray and wait and watch...looking for an inkling that He is working, yet you see no change. Your faith is stretched as never before and all you can do is cling to the promises of God...a God you know to be faithful.
You cling to the Word, verses like:
Hebrews 11:1, "Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance of what we do not see."
II Corinthians 4:18, "So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen...."
Romans 8:24, "For in this hope we are saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what he already has?"
II Corinthians 5:7, "We live by faith, not sight."
As I read my Bible, I see so many stories when God is working behind the scenes, and yet it is not always evident to the main Bible character of the story. I think of Joseph, all the years he spent as a slave or in prison, and yet God had a much bigger story in mind for him.
Several years ago, our pastor began using the summer months to include testimonies of faith by people within our congregation. As I sat and listened Sunday after Sunday, I was amazed at the unique, the specific, the individual ways in which God reached out to each one. Though I knew most of these people, I had not known how they came to faith. One man had been reached by bumper stickers on a long road trip that led to him seeking out a church. Another had come to faith through Alcoholics Anonymous. A woman had completed Confirmation as a teenager, only to realize she had no faith to confirm as she met with her pastor. Another woman had come to a place of total faith as she struggled with infertility. One or two had never left their baptismal covenant, never known a time that Christ was not real to them. Several had quite a story to tell of lives wandering, searching for meaning, often through dark and broken places. Yet, it often was evident that small things along their journeys were pointing them to Christ, but only in retrospect could they see it. The testimonies gave me hope, as I thought about beloved people that I pray for.
Then, I came across a book that confirmed once again that God works in mysterious ways. The book is titled, Not By Sight, by Jon Bloom.
In this book, Jon Bloom looks at Bible characters that many of us are very familiar with, and presents their troubles and dilemmas in ways that we can relate to them today. As the words on back of the book jacket say, "Trusting Jesus is hard. It requires following the unseen into an unknown, and believing Jesus's words over and against the threats we see or the tears we fee. Through the imaginative retelling of 35 Bible stories, Not by Sight gives us glimpses of what it means to walk by faith, counsel for how to trust God's promises more than our perceptions, and the way to find rest in the faithfulness of God."
Recently a second book was published, again written by Jon Bloom, entitled Things Not Seen.
Bloom looks at 35 more Bible characters, looking at lessons in faith and hope we can learn from them. As the back jacket says, "God is doing far more than we can see in our pain. We plead for God's deliverance from our pain and wonder why he keeps letting it go on. We are not alone. A cloud of witnesses surrounds us and they help us understand. In these 35 creative retellings of Bible stories, Jon Bloom explores the hope and joy that Abraham, Moses, Naomi, John the Baptist, and others experienced in the painful process of discovering that God's promises really are more trustworthy than our perceptions."
I highly recommend these two books. They have been a source of profound encouragement for me as I walk by faith...in the One who often hides His face and works behind the scenes in unpredictable ways. Someday we will clearly see how His redemptive story was being played out in our lives. What hope that brings!
Hope you are seeing some signs of spring wherever you are! The daffodils are out and soon the tulips will be in full bloom up in Skagit County. Anyone else making the trek up there? Warmly, Gracia