The Invisible Man. WOW! What a concept. I remember, as a kid, watching the 1933 film based upon the story "The Invisible Man" by H.G.Wells and becoming captivated by the events of the main character Griffin. If you are not familiar with the story, here is a very brief overview.
A mysterious man arrives at the local inn of an English village during a snowstorm. The stranger wears a long-sleeved, thick coat and gloves; his face is hidden entirely by bandages and demands to be left alone. Shorty after his arrival, a mysterious burglary occurs in the village. Throughout the events of the story, Griffin recounts how he invented chemicals capable of rendering bodies invisible, and, on impulse, performed the procedure on himself. He soon discovers that being invisible is terror to the one who is and dies trying to become powerful enough to reverse the curse of invisibility. While on his "reign of terror" he can be tracked by footprints in the snow, shadows and other means. It is by these means that he is hunted down and killed by the law.
It was an intriguing story and I bring it up because to many, God is "The Invisible Man". He would seem to many to be on a power trip and only interested in forcing His agenda on the world through His "Unseen Hand" in our lives.
The cartoon to the right makes me chuckle because often to us, God seems to be this "Invisible Man" who is waiting for the opportunity to allow pain in our lives.
You have heard the questions before, and you may have even asked them yourself: "If God truly loves me, then why would he just allow __(FILL IN THE BLANK)_ to happen to me?"
Let's be honest for a minute here. If God really did so love the world, then why does He seem to be invisible when people are dying of cancer, starvation, torture, and disease? Why does He allow hate filled people to come to power and inflict suffering on others? Why does He seem so invisible when the day to day struggles knock the wind out of us and demand we carry on as if nothing ever happened?
WHY DOES GOD SEEM TO BE INVISIBLE?
In the post "Still Holding On: (Click HERE), I mentioned a character of the Bible Habakkuk. (To spare me carpal tunnel, we will henceforth refer to Habakkuk in this blog as "Habby")
Habby was incredible. He was given a message from the Lord that spelled out doom for his homeland and for his friends, family, and neighbors. It was not pretty and Habby was one of the few people in the Bible we know of that "Argued" with God. Habby just flat out responded to God's word with a resounding, "God, that is NOT fair!"
God was going to collectively work on His people behavior through a source that was worse in their behaviour than God's people. Habby just spoke back and said, "God, that is not fair because our upcoming circumstances will be brought to us by people who are OPENLY defiant to you. At least we try to live on both sides of the fence. These people coming to invade us will prosper and that is NOT fair. It is NOT fair that heathen people prosper while your people suffer.
Have you ever had a "Habby moment"? God seemed to be unfair and absent from certain events in your life? Tears hit the floor, prayers seemed to hit the ceiling, and "The Invisible Man" seemed to haunt you with a presence that could not be detected?
Habby respond ultimately with a beautiful passage. Chapter three of his book is Habakkuk’s answer to God.
This is the wild thing about this book. We don’t get a message from what he pronounces to the people on God’s behalf. We get the message from Habakkuk pronouncement to God.
“Yet I will rejoice in the LORD, I will joy in the God of my salvation.” ~Habakkuk 3:18
“Father, I understand your anger and I also understand that judgment is necessary…but I still choose to cling to you.”
Judgment is eminent, but I will still cling to you.
As a father, God has shown me more of Himself through this lens than any other in my entire life. I was reading the very next book this morning and saw something so beautiful I could not wait to share it with you.
The book is the book of Zephaniah. (To spare me carpal tunnel, we will henceforth refer to Zephaniah in this blog as "Zephy")
"The word of the LORD which came unto Zephaniah the son of Cushi, the son of Gedaliah, the son of Amariah, the son of Hizkiah, in the days of Josiah the son of Amon, king of Judah. I will utterly consume all things from off the land, saith the LORD. I will consume man and beast; I will consume the fowls of the heaven, and the fishes of the sea, and the stumblingblocks with the wicked; and I will cut off man from off the land, saith the LORD. I will also stretch out mine hand upon Judah, and upon all the inhabitants of Jerusalem; and I will cut off the remnant of Baal from this place, and the name of the Chemarims with the priests; And them that worship the host of heaven upon the housetops; and them that worship and that swear by the LORD, and that swear by Malcham; And them that are turned back from the LORD; and those that have not sought the LORD, nor inquired for him. " ~ Zepheniah 1:1-6
I know what you are thinking, "Okay Dan, nothing about that was beautiful. It actually brought back flashbacks of The Invisible Man stepping on Wonder woman's scale."
Let's look deeper at this for just a moment. Zephy's name means "Hidden by God." Zephy delivered a directors cut message going into greater detail of Habby's message, but the difference was that God used Zephy to explain why He was doing what He was doing.
Zephy was the footprint in the snow if you will for the proverbial "Invisible Man". He was the shadow on the wall that revealed a greater power behind an apparent absence of visibility.
Zephy teaches us two important truths about God.
1. NEVER MISTAKE SILENCE FOR ABSENCE.
Habby wrestled with the idea of God's action in his life because they seemed very unfair. Looking objectively, we would probably agree with Habby that God does seem to allow bad people to prosper while good people get messed over and it is very unfair that bad things happen to good people. Zephy revealed that God was in fact present and that He was operating with a purpose.
Just because God seems silent and appears "Invisible" does not mean that He is gone.
2. GOD'S PURPOSE NOT HIS FAIRNESS DICTATES THE CIRCUMSTANCES OF OUR LIFE.
Zephaniah was the shadow that revealed God's plan for His people and ultimately all of mankind. (3:10-20)
When I see the shadow of God displayed to His people through this man Zephaniah, I see a message that is familiar to me. It is the VERY message that God has given me to speak out with my life and one that I use this blog to present to the world.
"GOD'S PURPOSE NOT HIS FAIRNESS DICTATES THE CIRCUMSTANCES OF OUR LIFE."
The message of Zephaniah was a revealing of God's divine purpose in the lives of His people. Habakkuk wrestled with what he saw God doing because it did not seem fair, but God used Zephaniah to follow up Habakkuk's struggle with a detailed reminder that He was all about PURPOSE.
"The LORD thy God in the midst of thee is mighty; he will save, he will rejoice over thee with joy; he will rest in his love, he will joy over thee with singing."
Did you see that???
"The Lord thy God in the midst of thee....". The Lord your God has arrived to live among you.
"For the LORD your God has arrived to live among you. He is a mighty savior. He will rejoice over you with great gladness. With his love, he will calm all your fears. He will exult over you by singing a happy song."
God was repositioning His people and purging the elements that would resist the repositioning. The nation was repositioned to fulfill prophetic alignment establishing the events mentioned in Isaiah. God was making the path straight for the coming Messiah.
"Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel. " ~Isaiah 7:14
"Nevertheless, there will be no more gloom for those who were in distress. In the past he humbled the land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, but in the future he will honor Galilee of the Gentiles, by the way of the sea, along the Jordan--The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of the shadow of death a light has dawned." ~ Isaiah 9:1,2
"A shoot will come up from the stump of Jesse; from his roots a Branch will bear fruit." ~ Isaiah 11:1
Then Zephy's words ring true. Look in Matthew chapter 1!!!
"And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins." ~ Matthew 1:21 (This would be the resting in His love, singing and rejoicing part)
"Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us." ~ Matthew 1:23
(This would be the "The Lord your God has arrived to live among you." part!!!)
Is God always fair? No. Ask Joseph, Daniel, Habby, and Zephy. If you are in a "Habby" Moment of life where God seems to be invisible, HOLD ON!!! Let me be a Zephy for you and say, "His purpose is playing out right in front of you. He is present with you and everything is going to be OK!"
Climbing with you,
* If you liked this post you would also enjoy these:
"What Keeps You Kicking?" (Click HERE)
"God's Phone Booths" (Click HERE)
"What a Way to Die" (Click HERE)