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"He passes me by, but I do not perceive Him."

24/1/2018 - Pastor Young

A few years ago, I read a phrase that challenged the way that I viewed God's work in my life.

"God is always doing 10,000 things in your life, and you may be aware of three of them."

I read the sentence once, lowered my phone and thought about it for a few minutes. Until that point, there was an unsaid assumption in me that believed that God's work in my life was always plainly visible, and therefore I could only really see His work in the miraculous. Of course, I believed in His giving me life, and His presence in every moment, but for some reason, I had trouble visualising this in any real way. 

Reading the sentence a few more times, I tried to reconcile it with my own thoughts. I took a few deep breaths, and suddenly I was acutely aware that this act itself was a blessing; how could I even draw the very air I needed to live without Him? The way that my lungs worked, the subconscious nature of breathing and even the presence of oxygen all around me were visible evidence of His invisible hand. 

The wonder of His providence is everywhere. His presence is with us, and yet we sometimes have trouble perceiving it. Job 9:10-11 states, "He does great and unsearchable things, wonders without number. If He passes by me, I wouldn't see Him; if He goes right by, I wouldn't recognise Him." 

We've seen this very plainly in the last few weeks of our Esther series, "Esther Uncut: The Unseen God". All throughout, we've noted the lack of even a single mention of God, while simultaneously highlighting numerous "coincidences". At every turn of the story, there are slight movements in the background, but by the time we look back, there is another providential silhouette ahead of us that we can't help but focus on. Ultimately, we are forced to make a choice: either recognise God's blessings and guidance in every blank space, or fail to recognise Him. "We may ignore, but we can nowhere evade the presence of God. The world is crowded with Him. He walks everywhere incognito," says C.S. Lewis. 

In chapters 6-7 of Esther, we see God's presence in the ironic way in which He saves His people. Haman, who desired to kill all of the Jews due to Mordecai's failure to fall to his knees before him, now falls before Esther, a Jewish woman, and grovels for his life. His pride, his most defining characteristic, is dismantled in an instant. But if you peel back the layers of the drama that is unfolding before our eyes in this scene, we see even more of God's fingerprints. 

Haman knows that the king doesn't make his own decisions. King Ahasuerus, to this point, has been manipulated by his subordinates at every turn, and so Haman decides not to beg for mercy directly, but rather to ask Esther to mediate. Yet this very knowledge sets the king off on making a decision, as he calls for Haman's execution upon finding him falling before Esther. Historically, the protocol for the king's harem workers meant that no one could be left alone with one of the king's women; in fact, even in the presence of others, no man was to approach a woman of the king's harem within seven steps. These are all details that intensify the meaning hidden behind them; we are forced to reveal what has been concealed, and we find layers of complexity and incredible detail beneath. 

There is special delight in this uncovering of God's acts. Just as we love the anticipation of unwrapping a gift, and understanding symbolism in a film heightens our enjoyment of its themes, revealing what is hidden gives us enjoyment. These are hidden things, designed to be revealed, much like a wedding veil. 

What are some ways in which He is present in your life today—perhaps ways that you did not recognise before—that you are able to unravel and reveal?

 

Uncovering the wonder of His providence with you,

Pastor Young