Click. The backdoor lock sprang and the doorknob turned. Flashlight off, the intruder paused, listening for the piercing scream of an alarm and hearing none, nudged the door open a tiny crack. In slow motion, he peered around the edge of the door and then crept forward, a stealthy shadow, into the house.
“Jesus is watching.”
The man froze in mid-step, bulging eyes straining to distinguish the source of the soft, croaky voice floating from the thick darkness.
“Jesus is watching.”
The burglar drew in a sharp breath and sighed in relief.
It’s just a bird! A stupid, idiotic bird!
The man clicked on his flashlight and aimed it in the direction of the voice.
“Birdie,” he whispered, “it’s hunting season.”
His light beam danced around the room and then stopped, catching the reflection of a pair of red, glowing eyes and a set of very white bared fangs.
The voice croaked again. “Meet Jesus.”
God is always watching. Whether that thought brings any comfort or not is another story entirely. But it should. The knowledge that when things go from wrong to very wrong, from a small mishap or a disappointed expectation to a long-term heartache or a sudden tragedy, God is aware.
“‘I have seen the anguish of my people in Egypt and have heard their cries [and] I have come down to deliver them . . . for I know their sorrows’” (Acts 7:34, LB; Exodus 3:7, NKJV).
If you remember, the Israelites suffered as slaves under the cruel oppression of the Egyptians for 400 long years. And in all that time, God was silent.
But God was watching.
God witnessed every whipping, every beating, every deprivation, every shameful violation, and every degrading humiliation wrought upon the Israelites by their slave masters. God heard every mournful, wailing prayer, every desperate, sobbing plea for help, and every heart-splintering scream for deliverance as His children begged to be freed from the vicious brutality of the Egyptians. He also listened as the Israelites shouted at, bargained with, cussed out, and even forsook Him for other gods because of His silence. For silent God was—for centuries.
God does nothing arbitrarily. God had a plan for the birth of a new nation, a people of His own to proclaim His name throughout the whole world. But before that could happen, that people suffered slavery for 400 years at the hands of the most powerful gods known to man at that time. Nevertheless, throughout all of those excruciating years, God never missed a single moment of the suffering of His people; He saw it all—the shredded flesh, the indelible scars, and the tears as numerous as the grains of sand upon the earth.
Perhaps, in the midst of the pursuit of the destiny that you were 1000% certain God had called you to, things have gone terribly, terribly wrong. Maybe you struggle to find the strength to make it through just one more day. Or perhaps circumstances in life—your hopes and dreams—have simply not happened the way you’d hoped they would happen and every day you feel that you’re sinking deeper and deeper into the dark and formless void of hopelessness and nothingness.
Maybe you’ve ceased to dream at all.
In the Desert of Hopelessness
That’s how the Israelites felt. And my guess is that’s precisely how Moses felt after squandering his identity as an exalted Egyptian prince and ending up instead a forgotten fugitive on the backside of the desert with nothing to his name except the rags on his back and a crooked staff in his hand.
Even so, God never relinquished His watch over the Israelites nor over Moses; night after night, year after year, decade after decade, He never failed to see. And in the end, God delivered His people in a way far more miraculous than they could ever have imagined and, in doing so, proved Himself to be the God above every other god on earth.
If you’re in that place, that desert where dreams die and only hopelessness reigns, then hold to the truth that, in order to rise from the ashes, we must first walk through the fire. And should you find yourself in the flames, don’t lose sight of one thing: It’s all part of the plan. Nothing can happen or is happening that God does not see.
Our God is the god of the Resurrection—and He’s watching over you.