As John Ortberg concludes Chapter 2 of God is Closer Than You Think, he suggests that when we sense God’s hiddenness, He is up to something. that sense of God’s hiddenness often is amplified during transitional periods following a ministry downsizing or job loss. If only God would relieve our anxiety by acting quickly!
It then occurred to Pastor Ortberg that uncertainty has a purpose- a good of not knowing. Times of uncertainty and transition present unique opportunities for growth. If we can live with confidence and joy during our desert times even when we don’t know for certain if we’ll get what we’re hoping for, a strength will be formed in our souls that could never be formed if we received an immediate answer from God.
The author asks us to imagine that 2 football teams walk onto the field already knowing the final score of the game. In that case, neither team would put forth much effort. John comments on the benefits of uncertainty:
“Not knowing doesn’t mean you’re condemned to anxiety; not knowing calls for trust, and trust is crucial to good performance.” Substitute “saving faith in Jesus” for “good performance”.
As Thomas Merton once said, if you find God quite easily, perhaps it isn’t God that you’ve found.