Throughout all of history, the world has been eagerly waiting for God to reveal Himself. I try to imagine what it was like in Eden when God would come and walk with Adam in the evenings (Genesis 3:8-9). Eden, in its pre-fall state, certainly would have been breathtaking but could not possibly compare with a person-to-person relationship with Yahweh, the Creator God. In Exodus 33:18-19, Moses begged God to show him His glory. Like a truly loving Father, knowing that Moses needed the confirmation and encouragement, God covered him with His hand while allowing a brief glimpse as He walked past. Elijah called on God to reveal His power to the nation of Israel when the worshipers of Baal were persecuting him and seemed to have the upper hand. God responded in dramatic fashion with a consuming fire from Heaven and the people repented (1 Kings 18:20-39).
Generation after generation, faithful believers had looked forward in hope to the revealing of the Messiah (Hebrews 11:13-14, 38-39). He would be their Savior and free them from their slavery to the Law. Jesus Christ, the long-awaited One, came and fulfilled the perfect requirements of the Law by dying the sacrificial death to pay for sin (Hebrews 10:10-18). He was raised back to life, making a way for all who would believe (Romans 8:2-4). Even Jesus’ eleven disciples, after spending three years with Him, asked Jesus to show them the Father in order to prove Himself to them (John 14).
In the aftermath of His crucifixion and resurrection, Jesus appeared several times to different disciples and followers. In these situations, they badly needed encouragement that their belief was not in vain. God (Jesus), only days prior, had been walking with them and now Eden had been ripped away again. Persecution was just beginning and the forces of evil seemed to be gaining the upper hand. Jesus, knowing what they were about to face, came to them to provide confirmation of their faith and in-person proof of the Gospel message (John 1:1-4).
There are times in our Christian walk that, from our finite perspective, God is missing or is far away. One day we are skipping across mountaintops with Jesus and the next we are languishing in a dry desert, yearning for God (Psalm 63:1). These experiences can cause confusion, doubt, and a desperate need for confirmation. Just like the generations before us, we can get bogged down or dissolute waiting for God to show up and prove Himself.
However, God has not gone anywhere. Like on the road to Emmaus, He has been walking beside you and me the entire time, whether or not we recognize Him. In John 16:7-15, Jesus tells His disciples that it is betterfor them that He leaves. How can it possibly be to their advantage for Jesus to leave and ascend to Heaven? It is because as He explained, He would send His Spirit throughout the world to encourage and help all believers. We have been given the Spirit of Christ to live inside of us! His mission is to reveal the truth about God’s Word (1 Corinthians 2:12-13) and give confirmation of our adoption into our Heavenly Father’s family (Romans 8:16). The very same Creator God who walked in Eden and walked the road to Emmaus walks with us!
We, as believers, need to recognize our Companion (The Holy Spirit) for who He is and step out confidently in His strength (Galatians 5:16). Instead of passively staring up into the sky (Acts 1:11) waiting for Jesus to return, we need to obey what He commanded: “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to follow all that I commanded you; and behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age” (Matthew 28:19-20 NASB).
May we be among the blessed; those who our Savior praises in John 20:29 for believing with unseeing faith. May we boldly live for His glory alone, trusting that, although we do not see Him now, we can feel His presence and power in our lives and one day go and see Him face-to-face (1 Corinthians 13:12) and walk with Him for eternity.