God’s Withdrawal: The Test of a Lifetime

devotion

Scripture: 2 Chronicles 32:31

27 Hezekiah had very great wealth and honor, and he made treasuries for his silver and gold and for his precious stones, spices, shields and all kinds of valuables. 28 He also made buildings to store the harvest of grain, new wine and olive oil; and he made stalls for various kinds of cattle, and pens for the flocks. 29 He built villages and acquired great numbers of flocks and herds, for God had given him very great riches.

30 It was Hezekiah who blocked the upper outlet of the Gihon spring and channeled the water down to the west side of the City of David. He succeeded in everything he undertook. 31 But when envoys were sent by the rulers of Babylon to ask him about the miraculous sign that had occurred in the land, God left him to test him and to know everything that was in his heart.

Why does it seem that our darkest hours often follow our most triumphant moments? We’ve been experiencing a sense of victory for some period of time, but then something drastically shifts. There’s an absence of certainty. Our peace might even begin to diminish. God has abandoned us… or so it seems.

Hezekiah, like many before him and billions after him, was blessed to have a very intimate relationship with God. But at this defining moment in his life – God withdraw from him. Not to punish him or teach him a painful lesson the hard way. God withdraw for his own benefit. Hezekiah needed to learn what he was made of. He needed to see himself “face to face” and see for himself the foundation in which his faith rested. God was testing the inner Hezekiah- not the man that the public knew.

Sometimes God withdraws in order for us to experience the freedom to act fully on our own accord. To experience making mistakes and learning from them. To experience heartache and the difficult process of healing. To learn firsthand why God’s approval is the only one that we should seek. Consider it a time of self-examination and godly evaluation. But remember that with God- withdrawal is not abandonment. God promises to come back and pick up right where the relationship left off. And if we do our part- the relationship will be better than ever before.

 

Rahiel Tesfamariam is an activist, writer, public theologian and cultural critic. She is also a columnist for The Washington Post and founder/ publisher of UrbanCusp.com, a cutting-edge online lifestyle magazine highlighting progressive urban culture, faith, social change and global awareness. Visit Rahiel.com and follow her on Twitter and Instagram @RahielT.