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He's There
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My desk is on the fifth floor of an office building about 12 miles south of downtown Houston. It faces a window on the north side of the building. From it, Houston’s skyline can easily be seen, the downtown buildings etched against the horizon. On some days, in the right light, the buildings glow almost white, like a material version of Augustine’s shining city on a hill.

Yet on other days, Houston disappears. The horizon can still be clearly seen, and the sky is still blue. Yet through some trick of atmospherics – heavy humidity or haze – the buildings fade out, becoming invisible. Someone visiting me at my desk for the first time would never know that there is a city there. Houston is still there, despite the lack of visual evidence of its presence. You just cannot see it.

It occurs to me perceptions of God often seem to behave that same way.  Some days – many for some, fewer for others – His presence is felt as if He were next to you. He is there; you know He is there, as clearly as you can see Houston from my desk. Other days, some people feel as if God cannot possibly be there, or that if He is that He has forsaken them. He is gone. No matter how hard you look, He is not there.

Doubt God's Existence

Sometimes it is obvious why someone might feel that God is not there. Just as a bad storm can blot my view of Houston, so too can bad times make someone – even me on bad days – doubt God’s existence. One of the most enduring questions people ask is why a just and merciful God allows bad things to happen to good people? It is a hard question to answer, and some feel that it is easier to conclude that the answer is that He is simply not there.

But just as Houston disappears on seemingly clear days, for some, God blinks out of sight when times are good. To them, life is good because it should be good, not because what they receive are God’s blessings. Imagine someone visiting my desk for the first time on a seemingly clear day when Houston is invisible. Relying solely on the evidence of their senses they might conclude that my belief that there is a city there is fantasy. The horizon can be clearly seen, the sky appears clear, and yet no city is visible. Since they have not seen Houston it does not exist. My insistence Houston exists is simply blind faith.

Similarly, someone who does not see God might conclude that in absence of visible proof, that God is a myth. What happened two thousand years ago, when God came down to Earth and lived among us does not matter. That was long ago and far away. They were not there.

Yet I know.

Blind faith? Perhaps. Yet He is there, as surely as that invisible city, that I cannot see, is where I believe it to be. The Bible says, "Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen" (Hebrews 11:1).

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By Mark N. Lardas. Copyright © 2011 by GraceNotes. All rights reserved. Use of this material is subject to usage guidelines. Scripture taken from the

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