Does this mean, “God is nowhere”, or “God is now here”? The answer depends entirely on what you are focusing on.
In the past week, I’ve heard concerned folks comment that people are leaving our church. I’ve also seen 13 people go through our membership class. One person left the church because “the Spirit of God is not moving.” Five people wanting to be baptized might indicate otherwise.
What you look at determines whether you see a problem or an opportunity. What you focus on reveals whether God is absent or present.
2 Kings 6:8-23 presents a powerful example of the importance of perspective. The Syrian army is at war with Israel (8). They send horses and chariots to the city of Dothan in an attempt to capture the prophet Elisha (14). Elisha’s servant launches into panic mode one morning when he wakes to the startling sight that the city was surrounded (15). “Alas, what shall we do?” is his plaintive cry.
Rather than seeing a problem, however, Elisha is confident that God is at work (16). He prays that his servant will have the same insight (17). God answered Elisha’s prayer and revealed the angelic SWAT team protecting Elisha.
“So the Lord opened the eyes of the young man, and he saw, and behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha.”
If we act like Elisha’s servant and focus our attention on our problems and complaints, we will conclude that God is nowhere. But if we respond like Elisha and ask God to open our eyes and give us his perspective, we will see that he is now here, and at work all around us.
What are you focusing on?