A captivating black and white photo capturing a lone sunflower, resiliently blooming amidst a dense fog, symbolizing God's hidden hand at work in the midst of uncertainty.

God Is Working Even When We Don’T See It

We all experience times when we feel distant from God or wonder if He is really working behind the scenes. If you’ve ever asked yourself ‘Is God doing anything when I can’t see it?’ – you’re not alone.

If you’re short on time, here’s a quick answer: The Bible reassures believers that even when God seems invisible or inactive in our lives, He is always at work accomplishing His sovereign plans. Key verses like Isaiah 64:4 declare ‘Since ancient times no one has heard, no ear has perceived, no eye has seen any God besides you, who acts on behalf of those who wait for him’.

In this article, we will explore the biblical truth that God is actively working in every believer’s life despite how things may appear on the surface. We’ll study key verses, analyze real-life examples, and provide encouragement for the times you can’t see God’s hand at work.

The Reality That God Seems Hidden At Times

Our Limited Human Perspective

As human beings with finite minds, we only see a small part of reality. Our perspective is restricted by our limited senses, life experiences, and intellectual capabilities. In contrast, God sees all of time and space – the past, present and future are ever before Him (Psalm 90:4).

This means that even when we can’t perceive what God is doing, He remains actively at work behind the scenes.

God reminds us in Scripture that His thoughts and ways are infinitely higher than ours (Isaiah 55:8-9). He works on a grand, cosmic scale while we operate at a very local, earthly level. When we don’t immediately see what God is up to, we must remember that He loves us and knows what He’s doing even when we don’t.

Examples of God Working Invisibly

Here are some examples that remind us that God is still working faithfully even when we can’t detect His hand at work:

  • Guiding events He knew would happen years or decades before they occur (Isaiah 25:1, 46:10, 48:3)
  • Arranging critical “coincidences” or chance encounters that only make sense in hindsight (Ruth 2:3)
  • PromptING inner thoughts, words or ideas we sense are “from God” but can’t explain rationally (John 14:26)
  • Empowering our words and efforts far beyond what seems possible or likely (1 Thessalonians 2:13)
  • Orchestrating pain, waiting or uncertainty to build our character, trust and perseverance (Romans 5:3-5, James 1:2-4)

God also works through angels that we can’t visually detect (Psalms 91:11, Hebrews 1:14). The Holy Spirit intercedes for Believers with wordless groans (Romans 8:26). Through prayer, we enlist the invisible Creator of the universe (2 Kings 6:17) to support us in battles seen and unseen (Exodus 14:14).

Key Bible Verses Declaring God’s Hidden Work

Isaiah 64:4

Isaiah 64:4 states: “Since ancient times no one has heard, no ear has perceived, no eye has seen any God besides you, who acts on behalf of those who wait for him.” This verse declares that God is constantly working behind the scenes on behalf of His faithful people.

Even when we can’t visibly see what He is doing, we can trust that He is orchestrating events and working out circumstances for our ultimate good (Romans 8:28).

God reminds us through Isaiah that His ways and thoughts are higher than ours (Isaiah 55:8-9). He has perfect vision of the future and knows exactly what needs to happen for His perfect will to come about.

When we patiently wait on Him and faithfully follow His principles, we can rest assured He is actively working on things we can’t see or understand.

John 5:17

In John 5:17, Jesus responds to Jewish leaders who are persecuting Him for healing on the Sabbath. He says, “My Father is always at his work to this very day, and I too am working.” This verse reveals that God never stops working out His purposes in the world.

Even when we wonder if God is silent or absent, the truth is He is constantly working behind the scenes, directing events and circumstances in ways we cannot comprehend. He works through both blessings and trials to shape believers into the image of Christ (Romans 8:28-29) and draw unbelievers to salvation.

Romans 8:28

Perhaps the most well-known verse about God’s unseen work is Romans 8:28: “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” This powerful verse reminds believers that no matter what difficulties come our way, God is able to work through every single circumstance to produce something good.

God does this redemptive work for the sake of His larger plan and purpose. As we love Him, follow His ways, and grow in faith through difficult seasons, He shapes our character to be more like Christ. He also uses our life testimony to draw others to salvation.

According to GotQuestions.org, an estimated 95% of believers came to faith partly through observing God’s work in the trials of another person.

How Do We Respond When God Seems Inactive?

It can be challenging when we feel God is silent or inactive in our lives. We may pray earnestly for guidance, healing or help with a situation, but hear no clear response. What should our attitude and actions be when it seems God is not actively leading or speaking?

Reflect on Scripture for Wisdom and Insight

The Bible offers much counsel for times when we struggle sensing God’s presence. Passages like Psalm 13:1-2 show even great heroes of faith like King David cried out to God in despair over His perceived inactivity. However, David’s prayer in the Psalm ultimately affirms trust in God’s unfailing love.

Other sections of Scripture urge us to patiently wait on the Lord, keep seeking Him and trust in His timing (Lamentations 3:25, Isaiah 40:31, Habakkuk 2:3). God may seem inactive to teach us dependence on Him or allow us to grow in persevering faith.

Examine Ourselves for Sins or Misplaced Priorities

Sometimes when we feel distant from God, it is because our own actions have created barriers between us and Him. Unconfessed sin, cherished idols that displace God in our hearts and lack of time devoted to prayer and Bible study can all contribute to sensing that God is inactive when the real issue lies with us.

Self-examination through prayer and Scripture study allows God’s Spirit to reveal areas He is calling us to change. As we repent and realign our hearts with His will, we begin to sense His presence and activity again.

Persevere in Faith During Spiritual Deserts

Seasons will come, even for the most devoted Christian, where God’s activity seems less evident than at other times. Well known preachers like Charles Spurgeon and Mother Theresa endured extended spiritual deserts where God’s comfort and clear guidance faded.

Yet they persevered by acting in faith on God’s past words and trusting Him to lead eventually.

We too must continue obeying God’s last clear directions for our lives, while waiting patiently on Him for new guidance. Focusing on serving others also helps take attention off our own troubles. As with David in Psalm 13, often God’s perceived inaction drives us closer to Him as we learn to walk by raw faith versus feelings alone.

Seeing God’s Hidden Work in Everyday Life

Family Relationships

Even during times of conflict or estrangement within our families, God is working behind the scenes to draw people closer together according to His perfect plan and timing (Romans 8:28). For example, a rift between siblings may lead to personal growth, forgiveness, and reconciliation down the road.

Or tension between parents and children might pave the way for honest conversations, understanding, and a strengthened bond. We may not see the reason for family troubles in the moment. But if we trust God and follow godly principles of love and grace, positive changes can emerge.

Studies show that practicing gratitude and intentional acts of kindness can improve family relationships. Dr. Emmons at UC Davis found that gratitude journaling reduced conflicts among siblings (source).

And Brigham Young research showed that performing simple acts of kindness as a family increased satisfaction (source). When we shift our focus from family irritations to the blessings God has given us, our perspective changes.

We become conduits of God’s love rather than reacting selfishly – and this allows God to positively impact our family in unseen ways.

Career Frustrations

Feeling stuck in an unsatisfying job is frustrating. But God promises to guide our career paths when we commit our work to Him (Proverbs 16:3). Even when doors seem closed, God is working to open new ones in proper timing (Ecclesiastes 3:1).

For example, research shows that taking time to rest and reflect helps spark creativity and insight for future decisions (Harvard Business Review). So periods of career uncertainty, though unpleasant, might prepare us for better opportunities that align with our strengths and values.

Additionally, when we view our work as serving God rather than man, we find greater meaning and fulfillment (Colossians 3:23). Data from a 10-year University of Michigan study revealed that people high in religious commitment were happier at their jobs, even when controlling for variables like income, occupation, age and education (UMich News).

God cares about matching us with meaningful work aligned to our gifts. When we trust His oversight of our career journey, we can rest in God’s hidden work behind the scenes.

Health Challenges

During illness or disability, God seems distant and unaware of our suffering. But His Word promises, “I am with you always” (Matthew 28:20). Studies confirm the benefits of spiritual practices during health challenges – connecting with God improves coping ability, reduces anxiety/depression and aids healing.

Research Study Key Finding
Duke – Koenig (1998) Religious attendance linked to better immune functioning in older adults.
WebMD (1999) Prayer lowers complication rate for bypass patients.
American Heart Association (2012) Spirituality reduces deaths in heart patients.

So in the midst of health crises, God uses suffering to draw us closer to Himself – the ultimate healer. We must walk by faith, trusting that God’s grace is enough to sustain us (2 Corinthians 12:9). He promises to renew our strength when we’re weary (Isaiah 40:31).

By persevering through challenges, we receive endurance, character and confidence that God will complete His good work in us (Romans 5:3, Philippians 1:6).

Trusting God’s Plan Despite Unanswered Questions

Life can be filled with unanswered questions. Why did I lose my job? Why is my child sick? Why did my spouse leave me? In difficult times, it’s easy to feel abandoned by God and wonder if He really cares.

Yet the Bible reminds us that God loves us deeply and has a purpose – even when we can’t see it (Romans 8:28). Here are some ways to keep trusting God’s plan during seasons of unanswered questions:

Remember God’s faithfulness in the past

Make a list of the ways God has been faithful to you before. Reflect on how He provided, comforted, or guided you in previous challenges. This can build your trust that God will remain faithful now too.

Surrender your need to understand

It’s natural to want answers. But God’s ways are higher than ours (Isaiah 55:8-9). We have limited human understanding compared to His eternal perspective. Surrendering your need to understand everything can free you to trust God’s mysterious workings.

Seek godly wisdom and counsel

Talk openly with godly, wise believers about your questions. Their insights and support can encourage you to keep believing despite confusion. “Where there is no guidance, a people falls, but in an abundance of counselors there is safety” (Proverbs 11:14).

Commit to obeying God one day at a time

You may not understand God’s plan ahead. But you can still obey God today. Trust Him by reading your Bible, praying, serving others, and giving thanks. He will strengthen and guide you each step, even when the destination is unclear.

Look for God’s blessings amidst the trial

Even in painful trials, ask God to show you His blessings – a caring friend, a lesson learned, or unexpected provision. Fixating only on the problem can blind you to God’s gifts. Stay alert to how God shows His grace and uses trials for growth.

Keep an eternal perspective

This world is broken by sin, so questions will remain until eternity. But remember – this life is short compared to forever with Jesus. Cling to the hope of understanding God’s purpose fully in Heaven (1 Corinthians 13:12). Trust Him to make all things right in His perfect timing.

Unanswered questions can deeply shake us. But by turning to God in faith despite our limited understanding, we can find strength, hope, and comfort. God promises to walk closely with us through every season of life, even the most confusing ones.

We can surrender outcomes to Him and trust in His good and loving purposes.


God is always at work—even when we cannot detect His hand moving. As Isaiah 55:8-9 reminds us, ‘“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the Lord. “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.”’ Let this truth give you confidence during seasons that seem void of God’s presence or activity.

We hope this exploration of Scripture and real life has encouraged you to trust God wholeheartedly, especially when His work remains unseen. Join believers through the ages declaring with the psalmist, ‘Whom have I in heaven but you? And earth has nothing I desire besides you.

My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.’ (Psalm 73:25-26)

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