2. Is God hiding His face when He is seemingly silent?
Job said, “I go to the east, He is not there,
I go to the west, I do not find Him,
When He is at work in the north I do not see Him,
When He turns south I catch no glimpse of Him”.
God is often seemingly hidden, but His silence, His deafness, His blindness is all part of His plan to strengthen our relationship with Him. If we do not let it destroy us, what does not destroy us, makes us stronger, for there is no virtue in standing still, and standing still is really no option. So that suffering can, as well, be creative of goodness and understanding in the consideration of our calamities, and the calamities that befall others. The cross we bear makes its mark and redeems us from the obsession we had about righting things that cannot be righted.
Actually God invites us into that hiding holy place of His, if we confess our iniquities and our transgressions, and place ourselves on His love and mercy. His mercy shall compass us about so that when we are afraid and fearful in the suffering place, the songs of deliverance about that hiding place will encourage us to be fearless and strong, for “Thou art my hiding place”. Psalm 32, and He assures us that “there is nothing covered, that shall not be revealed; neither hid, that shall not be known”, Luke 12:3. That place with God is a most Holy Place.
People band together closely with others in order to commit violence or suppression with impunity, and they trumpet the need for secure, rigid conformity to exclude differences of any sort. They fear change so much that they feel the need to control to keep safe. Then they deform into a society less compelling than it ought to be, good will is absent, and an evil takes over. Sadly then the original purpose of something very valuable is destroyed.
“Pain and death”, or “food and life” are choices incarcerated people are asked to decide for themselves, while around them all the forces in these basic human needs are pushed and pulled 24 hours a day. It is with profound courage and compassion that sufferers survive the inhuman dignities placed upon them by captors, and torturers and they need to remember that it is easier to receive the pain and moan with it, than it is to be the source of the inhuman behaviour, for there is no escaping the human consciousness that makes inhumanity possible. So, in that sense, human captors or persecutors and torturers are always worse off than their prisoners, or those who they torment.
The tortured one has a choice to react in his/her own personal way. It is an inner decision, and not necessarily the result of the extremities that have befallen them. It is possible to preserve a vestige of spiritual freedom, even in the most horrendous extremities that man may lay upon another man. That transforms an evil circumstance from darkness to light, from certain death to everlasting life, from a terrible hell to a brightness where heaven’s angels dwell. Daniel’s three friends in the furnace were accompanied in that terrifying ordeal by a fourth, a protecting angel from God. They saw Him with them in the fire, as we also can “see” Him, when all else fails.
There can be a deep hurt and anger against God for His seeming abandonment in His hiddenness, so we need to remember to impress upon ourselves, that God does not turn a deaf ear and a blind eye, as it seems, and as CS Lewis described the fearful feeling. God does see and hear in the camps of the evil ones, and not only that, but He assures us that He is there in the middle of the evil. He does not forsake those sons and daughters of His as it seems, for He sets the joy before them, and will send an accompanying angel to bear them up in the extreme. He wants us to “LOOK UP”, but if we are so deep in the pit in the evil camp with our eyes permanently cast down, alas we find, miraculously, and mercifully that He is there with us. He is not hidden, and He whispers, “Look up, look up for I am here with you”.