When we lived in France, I felt abandoned by God. Why did He take me across the ocean only to abandon me? I read the Psalms where David lamented, and I deeply identified with him. Oh how I understood his sadness.
I remember railing at God, nearly shaking a fist, wondering why-why-why He wooed us to France only to experience deep and unrelenting pain and stress.
In the aftermath of all that, I now understand.
God was testing me.
He wanted to see my mettle, how I would withstand the trials when He seemed far.
It’s a lot like sending your kids to college. You cannot be with them every moment of the day. You cannot be a near counselor. Because of geography and distance, you are far. And from that distance, you get to watch what your child is made of.
As I look back on France, here’s what I see now: explosive internal growth. God did show up, just not the way I wanted Him to, or expected. And as He held me through, He watched how I would do. He tested me.
Don’t think me any sort of hero, though. I fell plenty. I failed far too many times. I let depression hold me inside the villa. But on this side of the trial, I wouldn’t trade the experience.
This week I came across a scripture that confirmed this journey. Watch what God does in Hezekiah’s life:
“However, when ambassadors arrived from Babylon to ask about the remarkable events that had taken place in the land, God withdrew from Hezekiah in order to test him and to see what was really in his heart.” 2 Chronicles 32:31 NLT
If you’re feeling distant, or that God seems aloof, take to heart that perhaps He is testing you. He is preparing you for something bigger, better, harder. You’ve graduated from simplistic Christianity to college, and He’s finding great delight in watching you fly.
When has God seemed far? What did you learn?