Verily thou art a God that hidest thyself, O God of Israel, the Saviour. —Isaiah 45:15, KJV
All disciplining that comes from our heavenly Father is in reality the hiding of His face. If indeed you are a child of God but haven't experienced the hiding of His face, it is only a matter of time. I say that because we are told, " ... he punishes everyone he accepts" as a son or daughter (Heb. 12:6). There is no warning. We find ourselves enjoying His sweet presence when—without any notice—He seems saliently absent.
The funny thing is that what God uses to get our attention may be the very thing that turns us off about Him! You would think He would use a method or technique that makes Him more loveable—or at least more likeable, but often He seems to do the very thing that He must know is making Him look pretty awful in our eyes at that moment. It is when He seems to turn His back on us. He makes us feel rejected, as though He has dropped us from His good list entirely. It is when He seems disloyal and comes through to us (as best we can tell at the time) as an enemy, not a friend.
To put the purpose of chastening another way, it is given to us that we might break the betrayal barrier in our relationship with God. It is what few Christians (in my opinion) manage to do, at least, at first—and some, sadly, never succeed. A breakthrough in the betrayal barrier is one that will put us squarely on the path to joy.
Do you feel as if God has left you? Be assured that He has not left you in the absolute sense; it only seems that way.
When God hides His face it is not because He has completely left you; it only feels that way.
Excerpted from Pure Joy (Charisma House, 2006).
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