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The hiddenness of God

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What can amaze me is the apparent absence of God within his massive and inescapable presence. Absence is therefore not the right word, better would be: the hiddenness of God.

I can hardly care; that materialistic view which is about how something exists in itself and scientism which believes in science as the answer to every question. How something works can indeed be impressive, and insights yield knowledge. But THAT it exists is far more impressive, and the search for the why provides wisdom. How consciousness does or does not work is intriguing, but that consciousness exists and therefore we can go through this reasoning is many times more intriguing.

Only living beings can produce life. - Pasteur

The how exists because of the why and both of these lead to the to which. Not experiencing God, but seeing a sprightly world before me. This is paradoxical. Even in my thinking about the absence of God, God is present. It is like the man who places himself above the woman, forgetting to have sprung from a woman.

The hiddenness of God. That seems to be about a God who hides, but it could just as easily be about man's perception; not being able to perceive God. God is hidden from those who do not see. But once you see, you truly see God's presence everywhere. Also read this related blog: 'the whole earth is full of his glory'. How can God's glory be full on an earth in clear distress?

Isaiah says, You are a God who hides Himself. You cannot be seen. You are the God of Israel and the Savior of Israel (Isa. 45:15).

Why, Lord, are you so far and hide in times of need? (Ps. 10:1)

I don't want to be simplistic about it, you can experience it this way: a hiddenness of God in times of need. I can experience it this way. Why doesn't God intervene? Why doesn't He show Himself? Why no comfort when it seems most needed?

Yet even hiddenness is not the right word. in fact, it puts us on the wrong track. Synonymous with secret in this context, the word mystery (you see this in contemporary translations as well). And that shows better what this is about. 1 Cor. 2 from verse 6 onward is about the wisdom of God that cannot be understood by all people. This gives a glimpse into the reality in which we live.

Life with God is like a secret. It lies ready to be found (like the treasure in the ground from Mat.13:44), but cannot go without cost. The land must be bought, the cost calculated (Luk.14:28). Jesus also often speaks in parables; not to be understood by everyone. Therefore, God's Kingdom is not there for the taking, but it can be found. Why is that so? The disciples wondered the same thing (Mat. 13:10ff.).. To those who "will not see and hear," Jesus speaks in riddles (verse 15).

To those who believe, God is no longer hidden, but revealed.

However, God makes Himself known to those in them who want to hear. He allows himself to be found and wants to share his secrets. In times of sorrow, pain and difficulty, we can lose sight of this. Do the answers no longer fit what we are experiencing. Can we no longer see what we saw before. God is not less present, but our view of Him has become foggy.

I read the other day on Living in the Kingdom That the Hebrew word for pray comes from the word 'lehitpallel' which means 'judge' or 'judge. So when you are praying, you are not just talking to God; you are judging. About yourself, your circumstances, people you are praying for, about the situation in the world. Not just making our wishes known, but "Thy will be done. What we want will increasingly align with the will of our Father. And then whatever we bind or dissolve on earth will be bound or dissolved in heaven (Mat. 18).

We live in a world where the law of God does not rule, but that of the "ruler of the world. Judge we therefore do in a unjust world. This light breaks through into the darkness And makes the Kingdom visible. With cracks, with shadows, with crackles. But inevitably the darkness recedes. And when darkness overtakes us, just when we are at our weakest, God is there. Even if we don't feel or experience it that way. Just then, we need others to shine light into darkness and speak justice to the injustice going on.

If I were to go to heaven - You are there.
If I were to descend to the kingdom of the dead - You are there too. (Psalm 139)


Erwin de Ruiter

"One man tries to express himself in books, another in boots; both are likely to fail." - G.K. Chesterton

2 thoughts on “De verborgenheid van God”

  1. The constant question, especially when the going gets tough; where is God in all this? And just building on Yvonne's response the counter question of whether we ourselves want to be found by God. The "Adam where are you?" echoes throughout the ages. If God is always&everywhere, then perhaps we ourselves are the ones who have hidden(?) us.

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