by Pastor Nathan Anenson

Have you ever asked, “Where’s God?”  The question sneaks up on us when life throws us a curveball, or we get hit with tremendous pain.  Our confusion, grief, or anger swells, and we wonder, “Where’s God?”

There’s a story in the book of Joshua that helps answer this question.  The Israelites are on the verge of taking possession of the land that is to be their home.  They have been homeless wanderers for 40 years.  Finally, they get to go home.  I’m sure excitement filled the camp.

But there’s a problem.  The Jordan River stood between the Israelites and their new home—and it was at flood stage.  At any other time of year, God’s people could have waded across the Jordan, but the river had turned into a raging deluge.

But God had a plan.  He had some of the priests walk into the water.  And the Bible says, “as soon as the priests who carried the ark reached the Jordan and their feet touched the water’s edge, the water from upstream stopped flowing. It piled up in a heap a great distance away, at a town called Adam” (Joshua 3:15-16).

Did you catch that?  As soon as the priests’ feet touched the water, God was at work immediately.  Water began piling up.  Eventually, the riverbed dried up and the people were able to walk across on dry ground.  What a miracle!  But think about this: when did the people experience the miracle?

Scholars estimate the town of Adam was about 19 miles upstream from where the Israelites stood, far beyond what they could see.  That’s where the water piled up.  God began working on their behalf immediately, but the people couldn’t see it.  The Israelites, at this point, all they can see is a raging river.  There are 19 miles of water that have to go by before they see God’s work!  To their eyes, God has done absolutely nothing at this point.  They could have concluded that since the raging river was still in front of them, God wasn’t doing anything.  But they would have been wrong.  He was there, working upstream on their behalf.

God’s people learned an important lesson that day: God is always at work upstream in our lives.

When difficulties, loss, and disappointments hit our lives, know that God is at work; we just may not be able to see it yet.  So much of God’s work in this world and in our lives is hidden.  We see only a part of all that God is doing.  This is why we live by faith and not by sight.  As you face the difficulties of this life, know there is a God who loves you, who is at work upstream in your life.