"The gracious hand of his God was on him...." (Ezra 7:9)
Have you ever heard someone say, "God's hand is off my life"? The sense that for some reason, God is distant. His blessings or answers to prayer seem birthed stillborn.
We tend to feel more secure when the ecstatic God-moments come. They often leave us with a vivid sense that God's hand is at work. Like my young grandson who asked God for a sign that Jesus was really in his little-boy heart. He said when he looked to the sky he saw a cloud in the shape of his first initial, "N." Then like Gideon, he asked for confirmation of his confirmation. Looking up again, he saw a cloud in the shape of a check mark.
Our pastor told us about a young woman who was finding it impossible to forgive the person who had molested her. But as she lashed out her accusing question to God, "Where were You?" she was given a mental image of Jesus standing beside her with His hand on her. His tears were streaming and there were sweat droplets like blood. Then to her surprise, she realized Jesus' other hand was on the person she couldn't forgive.
In my early battle with RA (Rheumatoid Arthritis) before medicines were found to help and the pain was severe, I had set aside a time one evening to pray for others. But without thinking, my wrists throbbing from inflammation made me ask instead for God to stop the pain. Suddenly in my mind, I saw Jesus' hands outstretched, nailed to the cross. Feeling humbled that His pain was so much greater, I then prayed, "Father, forgive me for asking You to do something for me that You couldn't do for Your own Son." My pain ceased immediately.
When God answers quickly to give insight or understanding, or He immediately heals emotionally or physically, we have no doubt of His nearness or earnestness to work in our lives. But in the times when loss looms like an unwelcome heart guest refusing to leave. When pain or sickness find no ease. When answers to our questions are left to Eternity's unfolding, we may feel God's hand has left us. But it has not. He is actually holding us more tightly.
It's in those "Where is God?" times, His compassion anchors and His heart throbs with empathy for us. In perfect love that is not willing to leave us stunted or leave us behind, His Spirit is doing a sanctifying work. Severing Self and sin. Implanting a sweeter, deeper, more gripping trust. Strengthening us past what our eyes see, or our minds reason. Faith-ing us past whatever would betray the truth that we have a Good Father. It is in those times that a radical contentment arises to acknowledge that all that we are and have are most secure when held in God's Good Hands. ~ martha langley