Most would admit they have never heard the voice of God or experienced his physical presence in anyway. This is certainly my experience. This experience no more indicates our lack of faith than lack of health or richness suggests unfaithfulness. God’s presence and miracles were prevalent in Old Testament times. God showed Himself in mighty ways to the Israelites through the plagues, digesting the miracle of manna in their bellies while wandering in the wilderness, and crossing the Red Sea onto dry ground. God’s visibility and directness didn’t cause the Israelites to choose rightly. Would any other nation act differently?
Jesus’ miracles attracted crowds but rarely encouraged long-term faithfulness. Humans have short attention spans. Constant miracles do not lead to changed lives. Why has God withdrawn audible and physically? Why is it necessary we live much more by faith than sight?
We ask God to help us find a partner, to get us a certain job, to cure our sickness. There is nothing wrong with these prayers, but we need to try to understand God’s perspective. God not answering our prayer our way may be the best way to run the universe with the desires He has to change the world. Once a prayer is answered, we often only go back to independency rather than a deeper dependency on God. Often, the only times we cry out to God are during times of suffering. When things are going well we practically ignore God, which only leads to a self-centered lifestyle to the harm of others. What’s a God to do?
The supernatural peace God can give one during suffering may be the only way we can attract others to our God. It may take a funeral and observing the loved ones of the deceased, for others to see the hope that Christians have. Suffering, whether directly caused by evildoers or not, may be the only megaphone that can reach people about what really matters in life. The truth of the matter is suffering, not pleasures, is what changes lives. Similarly, God and Jesus removing themselves may be the only way to create life-changing dependency. Seeing does not always lead to believing. We may have to believe in order to see.