Hidden ThingsJuly 13, 2005
One question haunts my experience of God: “Why doesn’t He show up more obviously, more often?” Though I don’t buy into the argument thrown out by armchair agnostics when they say, “I’d believe in God if there was more proof” (I always ask, ‘what would you accept as incontroverbial proof?’…they never answer it), I do think a more “obvious” God would be at least more comforting.
The Book of Esther is a case in point. One of the most startling “novels” of the Bible, Esther is often the first book suggested for the junk pile when people discuss which books they would remove from the biblical library. Martin Luther was not fond of it, for it does not mention God once. You would think the “non-mention” of deity would be an excluding factor in a theistic book, but apparently not.
Though God’s name is conspicuously absent, it is only because we see his hand in retrospect. God saves Esther, provides providential deliverance from the gallows for Esther’s uncle and turns the tables on an evil plot. But it is only in retrospect that God’s hand is traceable. In the midst of their troubles, Mordecai and Esther had to plod on without seeing his trail.
God could heal quicker, shout louder, provide substantially (and quicker), lead clearer, prevent harder… yet it seems that He doesn’t.
But think about this: God is not hiding…He is just hidden. Something hidden can be found out. Someone hiding, especially one with God’s infinite number of hiding places, can remain out of touch. Finding God in his hiddenness is not that difficult. He does want us to see Him, but it is only those who aren’t always looking for the obvious.
In the movie “Patch Adams”, the namesake has just lost the love of his life to a brutal murder. He stands on top of the hill where he and his girlfriend had hoped to build a hospital. He looks over and contemplates suicide. He then looks to God and says, “I would not give you the satisfaction of destroying me.” Remember, grief has anger tied to it like a snake on a string. As he walks away, a butterfly lands on his bag…and then on his shoulder. His girlfriend had once told him that she longed to be like a butterfly to escape the problems of this world and find beauty. He begins to laugh and realizes God has just spoken to him. He finds God because his heart is still leaning toward God, speaking Godward. Despite our anger, God can always be found in the blessedness of his hidden nature. Isn’t God the One who said, “You will seek me and find me when you search for me with all your heart.”