One subject I found very interesting while attending seminary was an argument for atheism called the “hiddenness of God”. To learn more about this and one perspective from Ravi Zacharias’ ministry, read this article: Hiddenness of God.
I have to say that when I was an atheist, I would have agreed with the argument of the hiddenness of God. After all, why wouldn’t he make himself clearly present and end all the ridiculous arguments? And I also have to say that I find most of the responses from the Christian community that try to explain away the hiddenness of God to be unsatisfactory to my logical, evidence-based mentality and personality. That would be 41 years of agreement with the argument.
But when I met Christ – when I realized that an event in my life was too coincidental to be a coincidence – my perspective changed. I still find the typical responses to the argument to be unsatisfactory. But as I looked back on my first 41 years, I realized that there were many pointers to the existence of God. Personal invitations to believe. Strange coincidences that only years later would indicate to me that God was directly involved in my life. God was not elusive from me – rather, I was elusive from God.
And as for the reason for the hiddenness of God? Well, I have become much more aware that there are questions and mysteries surrounding the way that God has designed or ordered many things. And thankfully, I can now accept that some mysteries will not be unraveled even over a lifetime here on earth.
Of particular impact to me from the article linked to above, is the following paragraph:
In fact, God is often found in one of the last places we think of—the church. For when the church is at its best, the church tells fresh the story of God’s good news across the ages. But the church can become the living embodiment of God’s presence; encountered in the love and care demonstrated by the community for each other, for the sake of the world. At its best, the church can be such a community, and can be a symbol of God’s presence among us as “God-found,” and not “God-hidden.” The church can be the arms of God around us when we are hurting, or the voice of God speaking when we feel we haven’t heard from God in years. Such a community can be like the faithful friends who carried their paralysed friend to hear Jesus. His faith didn’t heal him, but the faith of his friends did!(2) The church can be God’s voice, God’s hands and feet as they extend out into the broken places of the world to bring healing, help, and comfort. Through worship and liturgy, prayer and communion, service and sacrifice the church is to reveal the God who spoke and is still speaking.
John 13:35 – “By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”
To the extent God is hidden today is the extent to which the church will be accountable.