4 Steps to Take When You Can't See God

I awaken to a fog-filled morning. The warm, moist mist crept in while I slept, shrouding my neighborhood and reducing visibility. Peering out my front window, I can’t see farther than my mailbox. My neighbor’s house, just 25 feet in front of me, is gone. It isn't until three hours later, when the fog lifts, that the house reappears—right where it has been all along. 

Sometimes I feel like my life is shrouded in fog. Difficult relationships, job uncertainty, the loss of a loved one, or an illness hedge me in and block my spiritual vision. Like a blind man, I stumble around frightened and unsure. I develop spiritual amnesia, forgetting spiritual truths I’ve known and trusted for decades. In the uncertainty of my circumstances, I have trouble seeing my heavenly Father’s face. And while I know he is always near, my struggles sometimes blind my eyes to his presence. 

Elijah’s servant also suffered from foggy faith. He went to sleep confident and comfortable and awakened to find an army of enemy chariots surrounding his city. In danger of being killed or captured, he panicked. "Oh, my lord, what shall we do?" he cried (2 Kings 6:15). 

The prophet Elisha’s spiritual vision, however, was 20/20. Although his physical eyes saw the enemy surrounding him with apparently no way out, he wasn’t fooled. He saw with his spiritual eyes what his physical eyes could not—thousands of angels in fiery chariots encircling him. 

"’Don't be afraid,’ the prophet answered. ‘Those who are with us are more than those who are with them.’ And Elisha prayed, ‘O LORD, open his eyes so he may see’” (16-17). Suddenly the servant’s eyes were opened, and he could see the help that had been there all along. 

If you can’t see God in your present circumstances, don’t assume he isn’t there. Like my neighbor’s home, God and his angels are often quite near. You may not see them clearly, but that doesn’t change the certainty of their presence. God is intimately acquainted with your circumstances, and his arm is not short that he cannot save (Isa. 59:1). 

If you’re struggling to see God in the midst of a trial, here are three steps to take: 

1. Pray. Like Elisha, ask God to open your eyes to see his work in your life. 

2. Look intentionally for signs of his presence. Don’t miss the little things. 

3. Keep a list of what you see. 

4. Thank him specifically for his gifts, large and small, and for his tender care for you. 

Sample prayer: 

Father, open my eyes to see how you are at work in my life. Show me tangible, visible evidence of how you love and care for me. Thank you for the comfort of your Word, which reminds me that you will never leave me or forsake me. Thank you for strength to rise from bed this morning, food to nourish my body, and sunshine to warm the earth. Thank you for the chatter of birds outside my window, because they remind me that just as you care for the sparrow, so you also care for me. Thank you for the simple pleasures of a warm bed, a faithful dog, and Christian friends. Thank you for the ways you’ve shown yourself faithful on my behalf in the past, for this demonstrates that I can trust you for the future. May you be glorified in me today. In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.

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  1. We all face this at one time or another or another nother. Especially when your focus is on the here. Thanks for this advice.

    1. It's true Tim, I think this is why so many books of the Bible remind us that this world is not our home -- the Shadowlands, as C.S. Lewis called it. Thanks for dropping by.

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