Hiding His Face
I will wait for the LORD, who is hiding his face from the house of Jacob.
I will put my trust in him” (Isaiah 8:17).
Sometimes it seems that GOD is MIA—Missing in Action. No matter how hard we look, no matter how much we want him to show himself in our lives, we do not see him. If he is there, he must be hiding from us.
We seldom feel this way when life is blessed with success and sunshine. It is on the dark days, when caught in the storms of life, that we wonder where he is.
“How could he let this happen?” is the question we ask after disaster or tragedy or failure. In our own mind, if he truly loved and watched over us, such things would not happen. But happen they do. And at times they leave us shocked and disappointed.
It can happen to anyone. But those who wear the uniform to protect a nation might face this more often, and in greater measure.
An Army Delta soldier once asked, “Why has God turned his back on these people?”
A young Afghan woman had run up to him with her ears and nose cut off by the man her parents had sold her to. When she went to her family for help, they refused, saying she must have not been a good wife. Her village agreed.
“Where is God?” the soldier asked. Granted, this woman had not called out to him for help. If she did offer prayers (and most likely she did) it was to a man-made god who does not exist. But does not God love the entire world? Did he not care about this woman, who probably never had a chance to hear that his Son had died for her sin?
He did care. The American soldier was proof that he had not turned his back upon her or her people. The sight of the American uniform gave the woman hope. She ran to someone she believed would protect her. And she was right.
The reasons for American troops being in Afghanistan are complex and debated. But this is clear, God showed his face to this particular woman by sending this particular Christian into her country while in service to his own country. From heaven God’s face beamed with love.
We don’t know the rest of the story of his woman’s life. We do know that the sins of all Afghans were paid for with the blood of Christ. We know God grieves over those who reject him. If it has not happened yet, we pray that she learns of Jesus, her Savior, and embraces him in faith.
We don’t understand all the details of the way that God works among individuals, much less nations. It is, as Saint Paul writes, “Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known” (I Corinthians 13:12).
At times, it may seem that God is hiding his face. That’s why the familiar benediction is so precious. It is not a wish. It is a promise that God’s face will be turned toward us with blessing.
He is not a missing God. He is not a hidden God. He is the ever-present Savior God.
Receive the blessing of the Lord:
The LORD bless you and keep you;
the LORD make his face shine upon you and be gracious to you;
the LORD turn his face toward you and give you peace. Amen.
Written by Pastor Paul Ziemer, WELS National Civilian Chaplain
and Liaison to the Military, Cape Coral, Florida
Provided by WELS Ministry to the Military