When God Doesn’t Show Up

Listen, God! Please, pay attention! Can You make sense of these ramblings, my groans and cries? King-God, I need Your help. Every morning You’ll hear me at it again. Every morning I lay out the pieces of my life on Your altar and watch for fire to descend.”

Psalms 5:1-5 MSG

Have you ever ordered something online and when you received the package, the item was different from what you expected? Order errors are annoying and time consuming. It’s frustrating to get something that isn’t the correct color or size, or arrives damaged. Sometimes, the item received isn’t anything like the item ordered.

I don’t order too much online for that exact reason. I don’t want to face the hassle of returning what I ordered if something is not right. Last fall, as I was deciding what to wear to various special events, I came across this gorgeous, multi-colored, long, brocade jacket online. It caught my eye. The price was so right, and I loved the look. So, with a release of my breath, I pushed “add to cart.”

I waited to receive the “your package has shipped” notification for days. Those days turned into weeks, and weeks turned into months! The holiday event to which I hoped to wear the jacket passed. Delivery took so long that the season had changed. I set my hopes to wear the jacket for Christmas, then New Year’s Eve. Still, I heard nothing. I was just sick about it.

Package Delivered

One day I received an email telling me they delivered my package. I couldn’t wait to see the beautiful brocade material! Rushing home, I pulled it out of the mailbox and sped to the house. I ripped open the package, and there lay my jacket.

In no glory at all, it looked like a 10-year-old made it and screen-printed it with a $2 machine. Huge disappointment. Threads hung off the garment everywhere. The jacked-up jacket arrived late. It was too big with sleeves that would fit a Neanderthal and looked cheap and ridiculous. I had not gotten what they promised, and I was not happy.

Has there ever been a time when you knew God promised you something, but it seemed He did not deliver or come through for you? Perhaps you believed the situation in which you found yourself was not what you ordered or wanted. Did you wonder, “Can I get the exact thing I ordered immediately?” When we pray, we might think, “Can I get exactly what I prayed for right now?” Is God listening? Is He paying attention?

Will God Show Up?

I know so many people who are faithful, good, and loving. Yet these people wait and wait to see their biggest prayers answered. They consistently pray with high expectations for absolute miracles and nothing seems to happen. Some endure health, job, and family issues, rebellious children, or an unsaved spouse. Others have experienced deep church hurt, grieve for a lost baby, or loved one. Some people go their whole lives with no real answers.

Have you prayed but received no answers? Does it seem like God is far away? You may even imagine being cheated out of a life you could possess. Maybe you are feeling like you did all the things that a good person would do, and you just can’t seem to catch a break.

I’ve been there. I often wondered if God had left me standing alone and forgotten because the spiritual draught had gone on so long. Sometimes I chalked it up to, “This is just how it is going to be.”

God is Limitless

Looking back on some of those situations, I can see how I might have done some things differently. There were times I could have had a different attitude. I should have trusted God no matter what was happening around me. Our circumstances may cause us to believe our faith has hit a limit, but God is limitless. He is ever-present and always working on our behalf.

“Though the fig tree does not bud and there are no grapes on the vines, though the olive crop fails and the fields produce no food, though there are no sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will be joyful in God my Savior.”

Habakkuk 3:17-19, NIV

The truth is, God is always there. He is paying attention. God carries us when we are at our lowest, when times are the hardest, and when we cannot find a way through something. He is working on our behalf even when it seems we have no answers.

You may be doing all you can do, and things just aren’t going your way right now. Trust that God is still in control, regardless of circumstances. He will not leave you. He will not give up on you. And, He has something so much better for you than a cheap jacket that you ordered on the internet.

“Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; He will never leave you nor forsake you.”

Deuteronomy 31:6, NIV

Pray today that God would help you trust and believe the Word over your situation. Pray that He will help you walk in peace and freedom. Trust that God is with you even when you think He isn’t. Be strong and courageous. He will never leave you.

For more from Paula, order your copy of This Season of Freedom.

Read Paula’s previous post to learn more about dealing with relationships.