“My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” Matthew 27:46
I have moments when darkness seems to engulf me. They don’t come frequently, but they do come. Sometimes things just don’t play out like I hoped they would. And in those moments, doubt takes over. It tries to convince me that the God who loves me has abandoned me. Forsaken me.
Ever been there? I’m guessing you have. You and I will not follow Jesus very long before facing the oppression of adversity. When I say follow Jesus, I’m not talking about being a “proper” church going Christian with a pristine Bible and a painted smile. I’m talking about being a true disciple, committed to actively living by faith and trusting Jesus for God’s will instead of your own. The kind of disciple that makes the enemy quake in his boots a bit.
There are moments when that adversity comes when you will feel abandoned by God. The logic of your circumstances won’t align with what you committed to believe by faith, and the enemy will do all he can to convince you that God has forsaken you. After all, he is the deceiver and the father of lies (John 8:44).
I’d like to ask you to consider another possibility. Perhaps in those moments of greatest darkness, God has never been closer. And as you trust Him through the darkness and the first streams of light begin to filter into view, you will glimpse His glory like you’ve never seen it before.
How can I make such a statement?
“When my glory passes by, I will put you in the cleft of the rock and cover you with my hand until I have passed by. Then I will remove my hand and you will see my back; but my face must not be seen.” Exodus 33:22-23
These words of God came in response to Moses’ bold request, “Now show me your glory” (verse 18). God responded by saying, “I will cause all of my goodness to pass in front of you, and I will proclaim my name, the LORD, in your presence.” (Verse 19)
I have chosen to live my life for the glory of the Lord. I want to see His glory poured out, and like Moses I have asked Him to reveal it. I’m pretty certain I haven’t made the enemy happy with that request.
As I walk by faith toward the revelation of His goodness, the enemy seeks to keep me from it. He uses every weapon in his arsenal—deception, fear, doubt—to make me turn back. But as I choose to stand on God’s promises, something beautiful happens. My God hides me in the cleft of the rock and covers me with His hand. In that moment, the darkness is thickest, yet He is nearest. While the enemy whispers that God has forsaken me, He is actually holding me in His grasp, causing all His goodness to pass by and proclaiming His name, the LORD, in my presence.
You see, we cannot see God coming. We can’t stare head on into the fullness of His glory and survive the experience, “you cannot see my face, for no one may see me and live” (verse 20).
And so as He approaches to meet us in our need, He covers us with His hand. Darkness looms, not because it’s winning, but because in that moment, we are unable to see the light of His glory. But as it passes by and He removes His protective hand, we have the privilege of seeing His glory as it departs.
Have you ever noticed how you can’t see God’s handprint in a circumstance until after it’s over? In the midst of it, you can’t see Him anywhere, but afterward you begin to recognize His mark all over the place. When that happens, dear one, He has hidden you in the cleft of the rock and caused His glory to pass by.
Darkness will come, beloved, but so will the glory of your God.
But now, this is what the Lord says— he who created you, Jacob, he who formed you, Israel: “Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze. For I am the Lord your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior.” Isaiah 43:1-3
Notice that this isn’t an “if” promise. Adversity will come. If you and I are going to journey with Jesus to the mountain of the Lord, we will pass through swirling rivers and raging waters. We will face the heat of blazing flames. But take heart in this truth, beloved. We will never face them alone. And as we tuck ourselves under the shelter of the Most High, committed to stand on His truth and renounce the enemy’s lies, whatever the enemy brings cannot hurt us. In fact, as we walk on in step with Jesus, trusting His will even when we don’t understand, we set the stage to witness glory.
I pray you have discovered a few truths to stand on when the darkness comes. Let me leave you with one more. Why does God promise to be with us in our difficulties? To walk with us through turbulent waters and raging fires?
“Since you are precious and honored in my sight, and because I love you.” Isaiah 43:4