Let me know if this scenario sounds familiar?
You have just looked at porn again. It has been 3 days since you looked at it and last time you told yourself it would never happen again. You told yourself that it would be different as long as you stay accountable and start reading the Bible and praying more. You felt so bad last time and you did not want to feel that way again. The guilt. The shame. You don’t want to see anyone.
But here you are again. Same feelings. Same unfulfilled promises to yourself.
But more to the point where is God?
You prayed just this morning that God would help you resist temptation. You asked God to reveal himself to you. To show you that he cared. You thought that would be enough. Now you are asking yourself “Did he not hear me? Did he hear me but he didn’t care enough to help? Does he not want me to be rid of this? I thought he loved me and wanted me to be free? Does this mean I am stuck and won’t ever get rid of this. What the heck is going on God? Is there even any point in trying?”
I know I have felt like this millions of times. You think God is the one person who can help you but yet you feel so isolated from him. What happened?
The truth is God didn’t go anywhere. He still loves me. He still loves you. He always has. He doesn’t love you a little less. He isn’t ignoring your pleas because he is dealing with other stuff that is more important. He Hasn’t decided that you have had enough chances already and you are probably going to blow it again anyway so why bother with you.
He is right here.
It’s just sometimes we forget that he is here. We are distracted by our feelings. They consume the moment and we lose sight of all the times before when God has blessed us.
The same doubts were real for the Israelites when God rescued them from Egypt.
Let me paint the picture.
The Israelites have finally been set free by Pharaoh after years of slavery. It took a while but a few locusts and the death of all the first born in Egypt seem to have done the trick. But Pharaoh decides he made a mistake and goes chasing the Israelites. Things get worse when the Israelites run into a bit of a wall in the shape of the Red Sea. How do they get across? The Egyptians are right on their back and getting closer. Things get just a little desperate.
Thankfully God works best in the desperate situations. He separates the Sea allowing the Israelites to get across safely and then allows it to flow again killing the Egyptian army.
God has just stepped up and saved his people. He has freed them completely and now they can be the people that God wants them to be.
Time for rejoicing and praise. God is good. What can go wrong?
Well a lot has it happens (do you have forty years to spare?) , but the main thing is how the people react in the days that follow.
First they need water and start grumbling. Fair enough. But God quickly provides this for them.
Then they get hungry. Again fair enough, but God provides them with more bread than they need.
You would think by now the Israelites would get the picture.
God loves them and he will provide.
But they don’t. They hit a problem and instantly forget that God has worked everything out this far. He keeps blessing.
Isn’t this what happens when we face porn? Don’t we sometimes forget all that God has done for us. Don’t we get so stuck in the moment of failure that we forget that God is here. He hasn’t let us down in the past, why would he now.
I know that there were so many times that I was asking these questions of God. No matter how many times God did something amazing in my life, porn always brought me back to the false belief that God was ignoring me. That he had forgotten me.
He would then show up with his Grace and say “Hey I am here and I always have been and always will be and I love you more than you can or will be ever able to imagine.”
That should have been everything I needed but soon enough I was looking at porn again and finding myself ask the question again,“Where are you God?”
But what was true for the Israelites is true for us.
Exodus 16 v 9
Then Moses told Aaron, “Say to the entire Israelite community, ‘Come before the Lord, for he has heard your grumbling.’”
When you end up at 2am, the same place you have been a million times before. Staring blankly at a computer screen and wondering how you ended up here again, remember that God WILL hear your grumbling. Remember that he wants you to come before him. Remember that he has a track record with loving you in the past. Maybe it would help to make a list to remind you of all the times God has blessed you. All the things in your life which God has provided and all the times that God has shown himself to you. To remember daily that God is not hidden.
Eventually God brought the Israelites to where they were going. God lost count of the number of times that the people messed up and they ended up going round in circles. But God still blessed them. So often their sin made them feel like God was not there.
But he was.
He kept loving them.
Because he cares.
Because he is Grace.
He just desperately wants you to know him.
And that’s why he keeps showing up.