When You Can’t Find God

Title: When You Can't Find God

Bible Book: Job 23 : 1-10

Author: Jerry N. Watts

Subject: God, Presence of



Every time this country goes to war, sadly, we find ourselves with a list of military service personnel unaccounted for. We call these people “missing in action”, which has been shortened to read “MIA.”Regardless of the reason(s), they cannot be found or accounted for.

Have you ever had your world to seemingly turn ‘upside-down’ and when you prayed, you couldn’t seem to find God – you felt like God was MIA? When you prayed, your prayers didn’t seem to get above the ceiling and the skies were overcast with brass. I submit this was Job’s dilemma. Let look at him.

We have read the words of THIS ONE MAN IN BIBLICAL history whom we KNOW was God’s pride and joy. In the words of scripture, Job was a man of integrity, who feared God, and turned away from evil. He was the greatest man among all the people of the east.” That truth is affirmed when God begins to brag on Job to none other than Satan. God tells Satan to consider, behold, and take a look at the one He was most proud of and pleased with. Satan, revealing the heart of mankind in his fallen state, says, “Let me at him.” This seems to be a truth which permeates our world. If someone is living large for the Lord, there will be someone close by who desires to pull them down.

I have often wondered what it would be like to be a person who God would “brag on?” Admittedly, I may be the one who rivals Paul as the “Chief of Sinners” and God’s poster boy for how NOT to live, but I sure would love to be the one about whom God’s could say, “Look at him, that’s a person who’s doing it right, my way, and I’m proud of him.”

Have you ever given serious thought to what that might take? When it comes to our children and grandchildren, we brag of them just for being who they are - they don’t have to do ANYTHING for us to brag on them. In fact (and sadly) we brag on them no matter what they do or say. Because of our human emotions, we tend to put our blinders on when it comes to our children and grandchildren. However, I can take you to some parents whom I have heard lament and say, “I didn’t raise them to be that way,” or “I wish they would simply act like I raised them to act.” What a heart break.

But God is different. He has a standard. He doesn’t brag on just anyone.

Now think about this: Satan was allowed to take almost everything that Job had acquired, even down to his children. If that wasn’t enough, Satan was allowed to infect Job with a painful and incurable skin disease resembling ‘leprosy’. Now ask yourself this question; how would you respond if this much tragedy happened to you? Would you end your prayer with the words, “Praise the name of the Lord?” What if in the midst of these tragedies your mate said, “Who are you kidding? Why do you continue to give God your love? Curse God! It won’t matter!” What would you do? By the way, his three friends didn’t affirm his faith or his confidence in God at all.

We could go through this entire story and learn many lessons, but here is the singular point which brings us back to the 23rd chapter of Job. It is important to notice that while WE know what God is doing; God does not even speak to Job for 37 chapters. Knowing in his heart that he has not violated God’s word and confidence, Job is seeking to know what gives – what is going on? He looks everywhere but Job cannot seem to find God - it’s like Jehovah is MIA.

Have you ever felt that way? No matter what you do, where you look, or how you speak, the skies seem like brass and you are alone.

I. The Reasons

Now I will not pretend to be able to exhaust the reasons for Job’s situation or ours, but let’s agree that anytime you cannot “find” God, it is a TEST!

A. Trial

From reading Holy Scriptures in total, we know that God uses trials in the life of HIS children to make us better, not bitter. Job says, “When He has tested or tried me, I will come forth as gold.”

Most of can picture the process in our mind’s eye and see the heat of the furnace bringing the impurities to the top where they are skimmed off. But a modern day process occurs like this. God is placed in a powerful acid and allowed to sit there overnight. The acid will separate the good metal from the slag. The trial which God gives us has this type of impact on us.

James 1:2-4 says, “Consider it a great joy, my brothers, whenever you experience various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. But endurance must do its complete work, so that you may be mature and complete, lacking nothing.” (HCSB) In the midst of a trial God may not seem to be available, but make no mistake, He is there!

B. Experience

I hesitate to mention this because there has never been a greater need to experience God than today. However, this has misled many to seek the experience and not God. When we seek only the experience, we tend to seek only the emotion. Admittedly God brings us along just like we do our children; when we are young and immature in our faith, God may well give us some affirming emotions just like we do our kids. Yet, the day will come when the way He deals with us is in a more mature manner. Sometimes God removes our emotions to check our maturity and make sure we don’t only depend on the emotion. Never forget God has repeated said, “I will never leave you or forsake you.” This is His omnipresence. There is a huge difference between God’s omnipresence and His manifest presence. One is a fact while the other is indeed a feeling. Remember this:

“God is real,

No matter how you feel.”

C. Sin

While we don’t care to talk about sin today, Job’s three friends became accusers. But let’s get to them in just a second. Sin can indeed pinch off your fellowship with God. We don’t readily admit it today, but every one of us has sin in our lives. Many of us have unconfessed sin in our lives today. We have sin we like and embrace, and somehow are convinced that God understands.

Here is what God actually understands; the sin you love is the very reason His only Son had to be crucified. Would you have fellowship with someone who knowingly enjoyed what killed your son? That is we must repent of our sin and turn back to God.

D. Truth

Let’s return to the 3 “friends” who addressed Job in this book. The gist of their message was, “You sinned so you can repent.” Job’s story serves as a reminder that not every trouble we have is because of sin. From time to time our hardships are the result of our status – that status being that we are children of God!

I suggest to you that if you are in the middle of a trial right now, that it could well fall within this TEST that I have just outlined? It could either be something you’ve done (sin) or something God is doing (trial). So the question comes, “IF I can’t find God, what should I do?” Let’s see if we can gain some help;

II. The Responses

It will serve us well to take a breath and fill in the blank for, “When I can’t find God _______________. “

I am reminded of an old, old story. Jimmy and Jack were close friends, about as close as 2 eight-year olds can be. One day they started attending Sunday school and they wreaked havoc for the teacher. The little guys were always into mischief. They removed all the hymnals from the worship center; they changed the signs on the restrooms; they took the music director’s stand, and even more. They were giving everybody fits. Finally, their Sunday school teacher came to the Pastor and asked him to talk with the boys which he agreed to do. The next Sunday Jack was sick and Jimmy came to Sunday School by himself. The teacher sent little Jimmy to see the pastor who invited the youngster in and closed the door. Not wanting to be mean to the little guy, the pastor paused for a while attempting to find the right place to start. Slowly, the pastor asked, “Jimmy, where’s God?” The boy became “bug-eyed” and said nothing, so the Pastor repeated the question. Little Jimmy jumped out of the chair and was out of the office in a flash. He ran down the street as fast as he could, and without knocking went in to see his partner in crime. Frantically, pulling Jack out of his sick bed and into the bathroom, he locked the door. Turning to Jack and whispering as only a desperate eight year old can, he said, “Jack, we’re in REAL trouble. God’s missing and the preacher thinks we took Him.”

What did Job do and what should you do when the heavens are like brass and you can hear the voice of God?

A. Remember Who God Is

From the very beginning of his problems, Job chose to praise the Lord. He knew that he could trust God so he found ways and things to praise and thank Him for. I submit that if the only times you can praise and thank God is when things are good and feel right, you have a shallow relationship with God. It resembles young people and marriage. Hollywood teaches us that we “fall in” love. Most of the time we “fall in lust” and love comes later. If a marriage is based on that first “emotion” what is going to happen when the emotion is gone? Girls, this needs to be a lesson to you; a guy who is really in love with you will wait for you!

It is a very shallow relationship which is built on emotion. God desires us have a deep and fulfilling connection with Him. If we do have this, we can remember (even in our hurt) who He is.

B. Realize What God Has Done And Is Doing

It is amazing to me the number of those claiming to be believers today who cannot see God working in their life. It’s Amazing. Ask an average group of people to go down the row and give a word of testimony about what God is doing, and you’ll have a bunch of red faces.

Perhaps this is why in our time of need we have trouble reconnecting with God. Working as a plumber and an electrician reminds me that to reconnect something means it was connected to begin with. If we are connected with God then we have a sense that God is working in, for, and through us at all times. He may not be doing what we want, but He’s still there. Job knew that God was gracious to Him in the past and was confident that God was still on the throne was would bring Him through the fire of this trial.

C. Reach Out To God In Honesty

This means to simply tell God how you feel about what is happening. Guess what? God is a big boy, He can take it. If you’re angry, tell Him. If you believe you have been treated unfairly, tell Him. If you don’t understand, tell Him. Have you figured out why you can tell Him? Because He already knows all that is in your heart. Some people ask me, “When I tell God how I am feeling, do I have to say it with respect?” Well, I do. That is a habit I got into when I was a little boy. It didn’t matter how upset I got at my dad, my teachers, and my pastor, I always spoke with respect because of the trouble it might cause me otherwise. Candidly, God doesn’t need to hear your heart; He needs YOU to hear your heart. And when you think it, speak it, and hear it, perhaps the conduit of communication will reopen.

D. Respond In A Godly Way

Let’s turn to Job 42 and read the first 6 verses. I remind you that God took over the conversation in chapter 38 and for 4 chapters asked Job some very pointed questions. He asked the “who can?”, “can you?”, “who would?”, “would you?”, and finished with “I can,” “I do” and “I will!” (READ) To respond in a Godly way has already been outlined for us.

Job REMEMBERED WHO GOD WAS by saying I know that you can do some things? Negative. God can do anything, anytime, & anywhere.

Job REALIZED THAT GOD WAS WORKING – both in the past & present by saying “No plan of yours can be stopped.” God’s plan for you and me is found in His son, Jesus. Jesus is still the answer.

Job REACHED OUT IN HONESTY – here is the point of contention. After going through all of that, Job began to understand what He didn’t understand and acknowledged the sovereignty of God. That is a tough word for us today. But we will never find God until we accept this.

Job RESPONDED IN A GODLY WAY – We can sum this up in one word- REPENTANCE.

When you can’t find God in your life, remember Job and let His story impact your life.

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