Truly, you are a God who hides himself, O God of Israel, the Savior. Isaiah 45:15
No one has ever seen God. It is God the only Son, who is close to the Father’s heart, who has made him known. John 1:18
I’ve spoken before of the Horse Whisperer, Monty Roberts. His ability to take a wild stallion and have it follow him around an enclosed horse pen within 20 minutes is remarkable. To watch it is almost a spiritual experience for me. You can watch the video below if you are interested.
Jesus himself demonstrated this invitation/challenge approach to people in his conversations with various people. To the woman at the well, he told her she should ask him for a drink if she realized who he was – just a bit of challenge there. But with the Canaanite woman who asked Jesus to heal her daughter, Jesus said, “It’s not good to give the children’s bread to the dogs.” (Cf. Matthew 15:21-28). His desire was not to drive her away in the end; he wanted her to embrace a real substantive faith – not a faith of convenience.
When we encounter moments of the hiddenness of God we tend not to think of God whispering us closer, but wonder whether God has abandoned us, and can even despair of his goodness. If all we have about God is his hiddenness, we can all too easily despair of God’s love toward us. But we are not left only with God’s hiddenness. We are given the revelation of God in Jesus Christ. For God desires to be known by us, not remaining hidden from us. God has made himself known by taking on human flesh – still hiding his complete and unmitigated glory in favor of our ability to know and love him. For if we saw the fullness of his glory we would die. Remember Isaiah’s response to that revelation (Isaiah 6:1-7)!
God does, I’m convinced, hide himself so that we seek him more earnestly. He hides himself because he is not just another religious alternative – a “take your pick of whatever religion seems best to you” deity. God is the King eternal, the LORD Almighty, the Holy God. He is awesome and mighty, past finding out apart from his seeking and revealing himself to us through nature, conscience – and most important – through Scripture. We may not have seen God, but we can believe in him through the power of the Holy Spirit, and his grace in Jesus Christ, God’s only Son.
PS: If you want to see the Horse Whisperer in action, click here.