[God] does great things beyond searching out,
and marvelous things beyond number.
Behold, he passes by me, and I see him not;
he moves on, but I do not perceive him. (Job 9:10-11 ESV)
We are all a bit “bipolar” wouldn’t you agree? Life is marked by a series of both highs and lows; ups and downs; joys and sorrows; scarcity and abundance. Why? Because we are broken people living in a broken world with other broken people. We have all had the bipolar experience of . . .
“I will never leave nor forsake you” (Hebrews 13:5)
“My God, My God, why has thou forsaken me?” (Matthew 27:46)
We may never experience the trials of Job, but we all experience those times when the presence of God is as powerful as it is palpable. The fire burns brightly and we feel as though all things truly are possible with God . . . yet we also experience those times when Jesus seems as far away from us as the east is from the west. Our hearts are burdened and heaven is silent.
The psalmist knew this bipolar experience personally: “You are God my stronghold. Why have you rejected me?” (Psalm 43:2). The psalmist knew God was His strength, yet he felt weak; he knew God was for him, yet he felt like God had cast him away. To be sure, this is the life experience of every believer . . . because every believer is a bit bipolar.
So what is the best way to deal with our condition? Keep this gospel truth in view:
The way to heaven is not a straight line upward.
The shortest distance between two points is a straight line. But God is not always interested in the shortest distance for us to travel as we live out His plans and purposes for our lives. Do you remember how the Lord directed the people of Israel on forty years of wandering in the wilderness after they were released from their captivity in Egypt? If they had marched in a straight line, it would have only taken only a few days to get to the promised land of Canaan. But God had work to do in the lives of His people, and the shortest, most direct path simply would not have worked. Because God is God, He knows exactly what we need and when we need it, and that often leads us to the believer’s bipolar experiences in life.
We are never to presume on God, because when we do, we leave no room for God to work His way in our lives. We simply need to trust Him, especially when we cannot trace Him, knowing that He who began a good work in us will one day bring it to completion. Your bipolar life experiences will one day come to an end when you are received into glory. Until then, walk by faith and not by sight, trusting that all things are ultimately working toward your eternal good.
This is the Gospel. This is grace for your race. NEVER FORGET THAT . . . AMEN!