Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen: . . . to share your food with the hungry and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter—when you see the naked, to clothe them, and not to turn away from your own flesh and blood? Then your light will break forth like the dawn, and your healing will quickly appear; then your righteousness will go before you, and the glory of the LORD will be your rear guard. Then you will call, and the LORD will answer; you will cry for help, and he will say: Here am I.
“I’m showing God how sorry I am for my sins, but God isn’t noticing.”
“I’m doing all kinds of good, but God isn’t reciprocating.”
“I keep praying, but God isn’t listening.”
“Where is God?”
It’s natural for us to say such things when the going gets tough. We expect that if we do good and work hard, good will come back to us. We assume that God should work the same way. If I do what God commands of me, God should reward me. That’s just fair.
But that’s not the way God works. God is not good and merciful to us because we are good toward him or merciful to others. He is good to us because he is good. He gives us what we don’t deserve. He gives forgiveness, daily bread, and eternal life through faith in Jesus who lived, died, and rose again for us.
What does God want? He wants hearts that humbly admit and turn from sin. He wants faith that joyfully trusts in and turns to Jesus for forgiveness. He wants lives that respond to his grace with thanks by serving others with sincerity.
Where is God? You will find him where he has promised always to be—in his Word recorded in the Bible. Make God’s Word your delight and he will satisfy the desires of your heart.
Jesus, Savior, wash away all that I’ve done wrong today. Make me ever more like you, good and gentle, kind and true. Amen.