Many years ago, I used to watch "The Invisible Man" on television. I was very young at the time so I don’t recall many of the details. However, I do remember that he would enter a room, be totally invisible, and yet something happened because of his presence. You might see on your television screen an object moving from one side of the room to the other. The object appeared to be floating through the air and yet, as a viewer, you knew that object was moving because of the presence of the invisible man. On the screen, the viewer might see four people in a room and yet you knew that a fifth was actually present. However, he was invisible.
Many years later, I think about this old television program as I reflect on the presence of God in my life.
Think for a moment about your day. Think about the week you are anticipating. My day and week involve people. Sometimes this involves one-on-one time with a person. Sometimes this involves interacting with a group of people. As I think about the evenings this week, this too involves people such as my wife and my college-age daughter who is home this summer. By phone, I will relate to my other daughter and my son-in-law.
These are the people on the "stage" of my life. Yet, as with any play, there is something very important happening backstage.
When I was in high school, the senior class play was Thornton Wilder’s "Our Town." I recall being amazed at how many people worked backstage (crew, technicians, director, costumes, etc.) in order to make the play happen on stage. What the audience sees are the people on the stage. What the audience does not see are the people backstage who are making an incredible difference in what happens on stage.
God is the God who is "backstage." No, you don’t see him like you see the cast of characters who are on the stage in whatever life setting you happen to be in. You don’t know what he is doing at any given moment. Yet, his work and his activity are making all the difference in what is happening on stage.
Think for a moment about Joseph’s story as recorded in Genesis. In the beginning, he lives a charmed life as he enjoys the favoritism of his father. Then he is sold into slavery by his jealous brothers. Meanwhile, his father thinks he is dead.
He ends up in Egypt working for a guy named Potiphar. Then, in Genesis 39, we are told repeatedly that God was with Joseph and that his presence with Joseph was very real.
"The Lord was with Joseph and he prospered, and he lived in the house of his Egyptian master" (39:2).
"When his master saw that the Lord was with him…" (39:3).
"…the Lord blessed the household of the Egyptian because of Joseph…" (39:5).
Joseph ends up in prison. Still, we are told that God was with him.
"But while Joseph was there in the prison, the Lord was with him; he showed him kindness and granted him favor in the eyes of the prison warden."
If God were writing the book of your life, how would it read? I suspect that the story of your life or my life, authored by him, would read very differently from what you or I might write about ourselves. I suspect that at some places in your story (or mine) that God would repeatedly remind the reader that God was with us.
Why am I writing this? I have to admit that I am writing this as a reminder to myself. I need to remember that God is at work. I am prone to forget and to feel as if much of life is up to me.
Feel free to listen in and claim this as your own reminder.