“Jesus replied, ‘You don’t understand now what I am doing, but someday you will.’” John 13:7 (NLT)
Where is God and what is He doing? I know that question. I’ve often asked Him in the middle of my bewilderment seasons. What I didn’t realize was how God is always at work behind the scenes. Even when you can’t see Him. Sense Him. Hear Him.
Are you going through a difficult season? Maybe it’s a hormonal teenager, or maybe you’ve hit a rut in your marriage. Maybe it’s something in your financial life? No matter what it is, you feel like your life is a frozen field on a cold winter day. You peek out the windows at first light to see that it is still dark, and a blanket of snow still covers the ground. Life looks dreary, cold, dead, and bleak.
But what we don’t see is what’s happening underneath, hidden in the ground. Under that blanket of snow, nutrients are being broken down into the soil. Roots are growing deeper, and seeds are germinating. When Spring arrives, we witness firsthand that there was indeed something happening in the Winter season. We witness flowers in bloom, tiny shoots of green bursting forth from the soil, caterpillars, and butterflies abound and animals come out of hibernation.
When we step into Spring, we can’t help but see how God was at work. It’s a reminder that God is working behind the scenes all the time on the future. These seasons remind us God is always at work no matter what I am seeing or not seeing. And certainly, God is at work no matter what I am feeling. God doesn’t change with the circumstances—He is the changer of our circumstances. Even when we can’t see God—we can remember He is faithful and true to His promises. He is always working.
God is always at work, no matter what I am seeing or not seeing, and certainly no matter what I am feeling. God doesn’t change with the circumstances. Just because things around me are changing or seem uncertain, I need to remember that God is faithful and true. He is always working.
Learning to See the Unseen
Oftentimes, God is working behind the scenes to build our spiritual eyes. We tend to focus on what we can sense, touch, taste, or see. Whenever my faith begins to falter, I go back to the Bible and remember the stories where God was at work behind the scenes to be reminded of His truth.
As I have been reading and studying different Old Testament characters of late, I continue to be reminded of this exact truth. God made a covenant with Abraham saying that he would be the father of a great nation. God promised he would return these people to His great land and give it to them. Yet, Abraham and his wife were old and had no children. But God was working and provided a son.
There were several times when we wondered if this seed would be snuffed out. Jacob had to face his brother Esau from who he stole his birthright and blessing. Later on down in the lineage, Joseph was thrown into a pit only to be sold as a slave. He landed in Egypt and rose through the ranks of being a slave after being imprisoned for a crime he didn’t commit. But eventually, he was appointed as second in command over all of Egypt in order to help save the entire nation and God’s people from a seven-year famine.
Later, the Israelite people grew to a size that caused the Egyptians to fear them, so they enslaved them for more than 400 years. During this time Pharoah instructed the midwives to kill all newborn baby boys. Yet, these midwives kept their faith in the Lord and disobeyed the king. Eventually, Moses led this enslaved nation out of 400 years of slavery.
So, why did we have this little history lesson? To show that God was at work behind the scenes—even in the harshest of circumstances. It took more than a generation for God to save His people from oppression. It took generations before He established Israel’s king. Yet, He was still at work.
Even when Abraham and Sarah couldn’t get pregnant, God was at work.
Even when Jacob feared meeting his brother Esau again, God was at work.
Even when Joseph was sold by his brothers and then was falsely imprisoned, God was at work.
Even when Pharaoh ruled the Israelites and tried to weaken them by killing all the newborn boys God was still at work.
Your God is the same God of the Old Testament. He is the God of Abraham, Jacob, Joseph, and the Israelites.
These stories show us who God is. He is the same God of Abraham, Jacob, Joseph, and the Israelites as he is today. He is faithful and keeps his promises. Even when I can’t see it, he is working. Even when I don’t feel it, He is working.
Why Does God Work Behind the Scenes?
We went through this little history lesson to reveal God was at work throughout all those generations. His fingerprints are all over each of these stories and if you want to have a firm faith and peace “which transcends all understanding” (Philippians 4:7), then you have to learn how to believe what you can’t see more than you believe what you can see.
Paul talked about seeing the unseen a lot. He knew we needed to learn to see with our spiritual eyes more than with our physical eyes. In his letter to the Church in Ephesus, he wrote, “I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people, and his incomparably great power for us who believe…” (Ephesians 1:18-19).
Because we live here on earth—our temporary home, we rely on our dim senses, especially what we can see if front of us. Sadly, if we don’t see God doing something, then we assume He’s not doing anything. But this is when we need to ask God to open the eyes of our heart—spiritual eyes. We need to ask God to show us how He is at work and give us the courage to stand on His promises. It helps to remind ourselves, “God is working,” in the midst of our circumstances.
5 Reasons God Is Working Behind the Scenes in Our Lives
1. He is revealing His will. He desires to have fellowship with us; that’s why we were created. He wants us to look to Him for today and the future even if we don’t understand what He is doing but He will show us the way.
“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.” Isaiah 55:8, 9
2. He is revealing His purpose. Sometimes we pray and fast, and think we’ve made the right decision, only to have everything fall apart around us. The job didn’t pan out, the diagnosis came back worse than expected, or the answer is no. But we can trust He is working behind the scenes as He works out His purpose—one day at a time.
Jesus replied, “You do not realize now what I am doing, but later you will understand.” John 13:7
3. He is teaching us how to walk in faith. Have you ever seen a mom scold her baby for falling after taking a few steps? Of course not! She kisses his boo-boos, steadies her child, and encourages him to walk again. This is how our Abba Father works on our behalf to build our faith. Especially when He leads us to unknown places. Especially when we are grappling in the dark. And especially when we grapple with how to walk in faith that he will work all things together for our good.
“And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.” Romans 8:28
4. He is building your confidence. It’s hard to depend on God when we are used to relying on ourselves. But the Bible teaches how to build confidence in God, not ourselves. The Scriptures give us a picture of what it will look like when we genuinely develop confidence in God. His Word reveals that no matter what tomorrow holds, He is still holding us steady in His plans for His purpose.
“He will not let your foot slip—he who watches over you will not slumber; indeed, he who watches over Israel will neither slumber nor sleep.” Psalm 121:3,4
5. He is instilling hope. Hope is the heartbeat of God’s promises. He helps us rise in the middle of our circumstances. No matter the situation, God wants you to hope anyway.
“Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the LORD your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.” Deuteronomy 31:6
What We Can Do While God Is Working Behind the Scenes
While God’s actions seem to be hidden from sight, we can trust He is working. We are not trapped in our circumstances or current situation. He wants us to faithfully keep our eyes on Him, our hearts in prayer, and our souls in the Word. Even David of the Bible recognized the power of hoping in God while he questioned how God was working, “Why am I discouraged? Why is my heart so sad? I will put my hope in God! I will praise him again–my Savior and my God!” (Psalm 42:5). God uses other things or people to instill hope, faith, and trust. God is using everything for your good–to strengthen your faith and character. He’s orchestrating an outcome that will bless you and He will be with you through it all. all the way. We can wait in confidence and keep moving forward, one step at a time.
Heather Riggleman is an award-winning journalist and a regular contributor for Crosswalk. She calls Nebraska home with her three kids and a husband of 22 years. She believes Jazzercise, Jesus, and tacos can fix anything and not necessarily in that order! She is author of I Call Him By Name Bible Study, the Bold Truths Prayer Journal, Mama Needs a Time Out, and a contributor to several books. You can find her at www.heatherriggleman.com or on Facebook.