Dena Johnson Martin Christian Blog and Commentary

When You Can't See His Hand

"When you can't see His hand, trust His heart."

This quote hangs on my wall near my living room as a daily reminder that our God is always at work, even when we can't see it.

I can look back over my life and see all the ways He was working in the background when I felt like He was silent and had abandoned me.

When I was on my knees praying for healing in our marriage, and healing didn't come.

When I was asking God to protect my children, and yet it seemed as if they were destined to suffer.

When I heard His promise that He had a husband for me, but it was nearly a decade before His promise came to fruition.

I'm sure I could go on about the many times in my life when it seemed God was silent, and yet in hindsight I can now see how He was working in the silence. And I find myself there again, feeling as if He is silent. Wondering where He is in the midst of my frustrations. Wishing I could see His hand at work around me.

So how do we learn to trust His heart when we can't see His hand?

Recognize God wants us to exercise faithIf we can clearly see the future, no faith is required. If we can see exactly what He is doing, no faith is necessary.

By definition, faith is trusting Him even when we can't see what He is doing. Faith means we trust His character and His word even in the midst of the most painful and confusing circumstances. Faith means we trust Him to bring beauty out of even the most painful situations.

Reflect on His past faithfulness. If I were to look back over my life, the one word that would come to mind when I think about my relationship with God is faithful.

When I asked for guidance, He led me faithfully.

When I asked for provision, He gave faithfully.

When I asked for peace, He comforted faithfully.

When I asked for understanding, He blessed faithfully.

When I asked for healing, He healed faithfully.

His past faithfulness is a reminder of His character. His past faithfulness is a faith builder because if He has been faithful in the past, He will be faithful now and in the future. In Revelation 2, the writer tells the Church at Ephesus to return to their first love, to return to the good deeds they did at first. You see, when we look back and see the faithfulness of our Father, it bolsters our faith.

The Israelites were experts at looking back to see God's faithfulness. Think about all the monuments they built and the songs they sang. They were all about God's faithfulness in the midst of difficult situations. Reminding themselves of His faithfulness brought comfort knowing He has always been there working, even when it seemed He had abandoned them.

Continue the last thing you heard Him say. Have you ever moved ahead of God? I know I have. Many times. Many times in just the last few years. I have a bad habit of making decisions and then asking God to bless them--instead of waiting for Him to guide and know He is blessing the path He has laid out before me.

Right now, I am facing frustrations as I wait for God to open the doors I know He can. But, I have determined in my heart not to jump ahead of Him this time. Instead, I have committed to continuing on the current path until I know without a doubt He has illuminated the correct path.

If you can't see His hand, just keep doing the last thing you heard Him say until you hear Him give you another direction.

Seek the next step. I have been asking God to lead me with a cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night. Although I don't expect Him to give me a literal cloud and pillar of fire, I am asking Him to make my path forward very clear.

As above, I am committed this time to waiting for Him. I am asking Him daily--hourly--to make the next step clear and promising I will move forward when He tells me and how He tells me.

Worship and give thanks. So often, we forget this step. Scripture repeatedly tells us to worship and give thanks. In all things with prayer and supplication with thanksgiving (Philippians 4:6). So often, we get caught up in asking and fail to Thank God for hearing our prayers, for answering even when we have yet to see Him move in response to our prayers. When we thank Him, we acknowledge He is moving even when we can't see His hand. When we give thanks, we exercise our faith even in the midst of the unknown.

So many times I have found myself wondering where He is in the midst of the unknown. Without fail, when I get to the other side, I look back and see where He was. He was right there all along, every step of the way.

When I was on my knees praying for healing in our marriage and healing didn't come, I can now look back and see how He answered my prayers. Although my marriage fell apart, all the prayers I prayed for "us" were answered in my life. Prayers for healing and provision and wholeness. They weren't answered the way I expected, but they were answered fully and completely.

When I was asking God to protect my children and yet it seemed as if they were destined to suffer, I now look back and see how He did protect them even though it looks nothing like what I expected. God was there every step of the way. He was a protector like no other.

When I heard His promise that He had a husband for me but it was nearly a decade before His promise came to fruition, I can now look back and see just how hard He was working to put us both into a position where He could bring us together. He had a work that needed to be done in us before He could fulfill our desires. If I had moved too soon, I would have short-circuited the beauty He had for us.

When we can't see His hand, we must learn to trust His heart.


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