Giving Us Space
In reading some comments recently in Rick Warren’s re-tooled book, A Purpose Driven Life, I was pointed to a time in the prophet Hezekiah’s life when God withdrew from his presence so that Hezekiah was forced to contend with it on his own, to test his character and his faith.
“He succeeded in everything he undertook. But when envoys were sent by the rulers of Babylon to ask him about the miraculous sign that had occurred in the land, God left him to test him and to know everything that was in his heart.” — 2 Chronicles 32:30-31
And once again, God highlights my own relationship with him, and shows me how it’s okay when I don’t feel close to God. I so often battle with that disconnect, wondering what I’m not doing right to feel closer to him. While at other times I feel so close that I don’t want to be anywhere else or doing anything else but worshiping him and enjoying his love.
But those times do come, and they’re frustrating. But God has spoken to me through this passage to remind me of his unconditional and unfailing love. Just as I have allowed my children to “be on their own” and suffer through an event without my hand-holding – giving them the freedom to grow in confidence, because they know I’m there – God allows me to be on my own sometimes to see how I’ll do.
Knowing that my life here on earth is only temporary, and that I’m in training for my time with him in Heaven, I have to go through those tough and lonely moments so that I can grow in preparation for what he needs me for next. I know he’s still there, I know he’s not really abandoning me. But he is testing me to see how I’ll handle things.
Like any of our biblical forefathers, will I demonstrate confidence and faith in God’s plan to do what’s right and honor him? Or will I demonstrate cowardliness and pride by doing what I must to protect my own honor and well-being?
The real tragedy is, of course, that God doesn’t need to go very far for me to reveal my true nature. I’m still a work-in-progress, for sure. Certainly not the coward I once was, but I know that He’s testing me everyday, in just about all that I do.
But I tell you, the more aware of His presence I am, the easier it is to pass the tests.