Is, Was, Will Be
“Where is God?”
This is a question that gets tossed around quite a bit. It is a question which permeates the minds and hearts of individuals all around the world, regardless of religion.
In the time and state the world is in right now, as people all over are collectively suffering and questioning the sovereignty of God, everyone wants to believe He is there, and that He has a purpose. It can be difficult, though, to trust in God’s presence when chaos and strife run rampant, but we can’t say this is the first time Christians have had to trust in God when life was painful.
One of the most popular books in the Bible is the book of Revelation, though it isn’t necessarily popular because of the soothing feeling it generally brings. The book of Revelation is often sought after because of there is a sense of finality within the book. Even if the “answers” are veiled within Revelation, I think we often turn to the book just because there are answers within it.
However, the book of Revelation was not written simply to give Christians a “road map” to the end times, nor was it written to tell us all the ways God would destroy the world. The book of Revelation was written by a faithful adherent of Jesus, in a time when Christians all over the world were being killed for their belief in Him.
This book is essentially a book of hope. It is John’s “revelation” that no matter what chaos, pain, and strife the world experiences, God is still in control. John says as much in the prologue of his book.
“Look, he is coming with the clouds, and every eye will see him, even those who pierced him. And all the tribes of the earth will mourn over him. So it is to be. Amen.” (Revelation 1:7)
The book of Revelation is essentially a letter that John wrote to all the churches around the world who were suffering in the same way John was. Everyone who believed in Christ was facing difficulties in their faith as governments and rulers wanted to imprison and kill them for what they believed.
John was no different. In fact, it was while he was in exile, alone on an island in the middle of nowhere, that he received this vision from God and decided to share the hope of this vision with all the other believers.
I’m not sure that we always look at the book of Revelation as a book of hope, but it certainly is. As Christians gathered is secret all over the world to read this letter from John, their hearts would have skipped beats as they read the opening of the letter.
“Jesus is coming back? Everyone is going to witness Him? Even those who have persecuted Him and us?”
This was hopeful. This would be restoration. This was what Christians longed for. But when would it happen?
Unfortunately, it didn’t happen during John’s time. Which brings us to the question, “If God didn’t return to restore John and the other persecuted Christians from their suffering, then what makes this letter about restoration hopeful?”
I believe what we find in verse eight, is what makes verse seven so timeless.
“8 I am the Alpha and the Omega,” says the Lord God, “the one who is, who was, and who is to come, the Almighty.”
There are many attributes of God which make Him Almighty. However, it is the timeless nature of His being that we should find a particular level of peace in.
The world has had many ups and downs during the course of its existence. Humanity has had struggle after struggle. There has been calamity after calamity, persecution after persecution. However, amidst all the ever-changing variables of human existence, the single constant through it all has been God Almighty.
“How can we have hope in God, when John wrote these words about His return almost two-thousand years ago?”
Well, I’d say the Israelites probably wondered how they could have hope in God’s promises as they wandered through a barren wasteland for forty years. Noah probably had a lot of questions over the sovereignty of God as he was holed up inside a floating house with thousands of smelling animals around him for over a month. And for three days the disciples wondered where in the world God was after His divine messenger suffered an excruciating death.
The truth is, time and time again those who worship God have been faced with a crisis of faith, and time and time again God has proven His strength.
The God we worship is the same God who brought the Israelites out of Egypt and the Wilderness. The God we worship is the same God who parked the Ark on top of a mountain after the entire world was flooded. The God we worship is the same God who conquered death.
Sure, the book of Revelation may have a lot to say about the end of all things, but it has everything to say about the ultimate control of the God who is the same yesterday, today, and forever.
As Christians, we have the awesome opportunity to participate in worshiping a God who was just as active five-thousand years ago as He is today. And we can be confident in knowing that this God will continue being worshipped in all the days to come, and even when the days stop coming altogether.
So, “Where is God?”
He is in the same place He has always been, and will always be. He is sitting on His heavenly throne, He is filling the world with His Spirit, and He is permeating our hearts with His presence. In all things, let us trust in Him who has always been, and will never leave.
Questions for Reflection
1. The book of Revelation often creates anxiety within us, and sometimes may even cause fear and dread. Why do you think that is? Why is a book about the return of Christ so often only thought of as doom and destruction?
2. What hope and strength do you draw from the realization of God’s timeless nature?
3. How does knowing about the suffering of the author of Revelation, and all the Christians at the time of its original composition, help with facing a world still filled with suffering?