A coworker of mine questions the validity of God’s approach in leaving us a book and taking off and expecting us to be able to relate as God’s children and kind of figure this whole thing out until God returns and then makes us a part of His life? If we did this as parents it would be similar to neglect and abuse…say when children fall and hurt themselves and as a parent your response is to just go read the book and someday I’ll be back to make you a part of my life…this is a relevant and good question at first glance…and both my co worker and I are Christian ….and know the scripted response coming our way..but sometimes you have a way to refresh the outlook and inspire Christians to renew the joy of our salvation by your educated and factual responses…Job comes to mind as a possible response….
I definitely can understand why a Christian or a non-believer could be tempted to believe that God simply left us a book and told us to deal with it on our own—that he has in some sense neglected us in a way we would not accept in a human physical parent. I do not agree that this is the case at all, but I believe that this is a legitimate feeling to have.
The reason this is a legitimate feeling (even if it is not intellectually true) in my opinion, is that we cannot see God. Like it says in Hebrews 11:1, faith is belief in things which are not see. God is not visible. But what would you expect? What would you demand of God that he has not already done? Would you expect him to drop notes out of the sky? Would you expect him to speak to you in some sort of audible voice? God has given us plenty of reason to believe that he is intimately involved in our lives, but he does not violate our free will by doing miracles to convince us. That is not how it works. He does not give us individualized, unambiguous special miraculous reminders of his presence.
Like I already said, we have more than enough from God that if we are willing, we can be totally confident that he is with us and is working in our lives, and this is enough—hopefully. Jesus said that he did not leave us as orphans. He told us that it was good for him to leave, because if he left he would send the Holy Spirit to LIVE IN US (John 16:5-7). What more could we ask but that God literally live in us? How much more intimate could it get? Yet, we cannot see the Holy Spirit. That is the problem. The problem is not that God has abandoned us. NOT AT ALL. The problem is one of faith in things which are not seen.
We have miracles in our lives every day. Like God reminded the Jews in Deuteronomy 8, “your feet did not swell and your shoes did not wear out.” We have daily miracles and God works in our lives through answered prayer and through intervening in subtle ways all the time. The problem, again, is that this cannot be “seen” and it requires faith, but not blind faith. We have plenty of evidence. God did not just give us a book, but he did give us a book and this book is living and active (Hebrews 4:12-13). It is not “just a book”. Far from it. It is living and active and if we put it into practice we will certainly see that it is part of how God speaks to us every day. We are not alone and we have not been abandoned. Like I said, I can see how we might be tempted to feel this way, but it simply is not true.