In the world of theater, there is a front-stage where the performance takes place and the audience sees and experiences what is going on, and there is a backstage that is hidden from the audience. Merriam-Webster defines backstage as follows:
1: of, relating to, or occurring in the area behind the stage and especially in the dressing rooms
2: of or relating to the private lives of theater people; (adverb) in private, secretly
3: of or relating to the inner working or operation (as of an organization) (Quote source here.)
This hidden world known as the backstage actually goes on in our everyday lives, too, and not just in a theater production. In a devotional book titled, “Experience the Power of God’s Names” (2017), by Dr. Tony Evans, pastor, speaker, author, widely syndicated radio and television broadcaster, and founder of “The Urban Alternative,” he states the following on page 85:
When you attend a concert or a theater production, you don’t usually get to see what’s going on behind the scenes. You don’t see the backstage crew or all the rehearsals leading up to the show or the countless hours of preparation that have gone into the event.
It’s kind of like that with God’s work in our lives. We tend to live in the moment, noticing only what’s currently happening, failing to notice God working behind the scenes. We miss all the effort and planning He’s put in, and we are unable to see Him intervening and redirecting on our behalf. Because of this, we lack understanding of all that God has rescued us from and the countless ways He has redeemed us. Still, He continues to work wonders in our lives.
God formed each of us for a purpose, and the best way to live out that purpose is to take refuge in His presence. He promises that none who take refuge in Him will be lost, and He will always redeem us day after day despite our lack of awareness and acknowledgment. He is Jehovah Goelekh, the Lord our Redeemer, our ever-present help in times of trouble. In His redeeming strength, He works daily wonders in our lives and hearts. (Quote source: “Experience the Power of God’s Names,” page 85.)
While learning to use a new computer, I was troubled by a faint clicking sound that indicated it was working even though nothing was happening on the screen. The manufacturer’s representative on the help hotline said, “No problem. The computer is probably running an application you can’t see and is working in the background.”
As I thought about the phrase “working in the background,” I began to realize how visually oriented I am in my relationship with God. If I can’t see something, I assume it’s not happening. But that’s not the way God operates.
I see a striking example of God’s “behind the scenes” work in the conversion of Saul. While Christians were suffering under his ruthless persecution (Acts 8:1-3), God was preparing to transform him into a dynamic representative of Christ (9:15).
Is there a situation in your life today where you cannot see God working? It may be that your circumstances are resisting every attempt at change. Perhaps someone you love is obstinately refusing to respond to God. Even though it may appear that nothing is happening, God is at work—behind the scenes, in the background, accomplishing His purpose.
In the drama of life, God is the director behind the scenes. (Quote source here.)
You may not see what God is up to, but he is up to good. He is fulfilling his purposes for his own glory, and he is working out the details of your life for your good. Don’t let circumstances tell you otherwise. You may be tempted to flee in fear and God’s enemies may be fighting mad—at you. But at the same time, God will be repurposing even the most unlikely sources, the Rahabs in your world, as instruments of faith.
Going Deep//Focus: Joshua 2:7-11
So the king’s men went looking for the spies along the road leading to the shallow crossings of the Jordan River. And as soon as the king’s men had left, the gate of Jericho was shut. Before the spies went to sleep that night, Rahab went up on the roof to talk with them. “I know the Lord has given you this land,” she told them. “We are all afraid of you. Everyone in the land is living in terror. For we have heard how the Lord made a dry path for you through the Red Sea when you left Egypt. And we know what you did to Sihon and Og, the two Amorite kings east of the Jordan River, whose people you completely destroyed. No wonder our hearts have melted in fear! No one has the courage to fight after hearing such things. For the Lord your God is the supreme God of the heavens above and the earth below.
God is always at work, even when we cannot see it. God is always fulfilling his glorious purposes, which includes perfecting everything that concerns you and me.
The Lord will perfect that which concerns me. (Psalm 138:8)
At times, God is working in visible, dramatic, undeniable ways. We will see an example of that very thing a few chapters later when the walls of the city of Jericho miraculously fall. Those kinds of stories are strategically placed throughout scripture to build our confidence in God. But between those faith stories, which are long stretches of times, God’s work is not so visible. He is not inactive, mind you; his work is just invisible. You see, most of the time God is behind the scenes, working in unseen ways, as is the case here in Joshua 2. The Israelite spies that Joshua sent out to size up Jericho have made their way into the city, but word has gotten out and now the authorities are looking for them. Their lives are at risk. They don’t see that God is at work—yet. For all they know, they’re toast!
Then Rehab rescues the day. Yes, Rahab—an idol worshiping, street walking, “lady of the night.” At great risk to her own life, and that of her family, she hides the spies and tricks the authorities, making it possible for the two deep cover Israelites to make it out alive. What the two spies didn’t know at the time was that God was working on their behalf by working on a prostitute, whom he would use in such a significant act of faith that her bravery would land her in God’s Great Hall of Faith. (Hebrews 11:30-31)
As she spoke with the spies, this lady of questionable character was laying down some unquestionable theology: the work of God on Israel’s behalf was striking fear in the hearts of Israel’s enemies. The mighty acts of deliverance forty years prior in Egypt and over the decades of Israel’s wandering out in the desert had been sending shock waves into the unseen realm, and the principalities and powers that opposed God, and everything of God, were quaking in their boots. God had been at work all along on Israel’s behalf, and they didn’t even know it.
What is interesting here is how the different actors respond. The enemies of God are fighting mad. The men of God are fleeing in fear. The woman of the night is responding in faith. And over it all, God is at work, fulfilling his purposes and perfecting everything that concerns his people—redeeming a prostitute, rescuing the spies, and redirecting the bounty hunters.
That is true for you too. You may not see what God is up to, but he is up to good. He is fulfilling his purposes for his own glory, and he is working out the details of your life for your good. Don’t let circumstances tell you otherwise. You may be tempted to flee in fear and God’s enemies may be fighting mad—at you. But at the same time, God will be repurposing even the most unlikely sources, the Rahabs in your world, as instruments of faith.
What you see isn’t all that is going on. Never forget that. And learn to trust God’s unseen but unstoppable work on your behalf.
Going Deeper With God: You may be facing forces today that are out to cause you harm. Take courage: God is also aligning a Rahab or two to work on your behalf. Take a moment to thank God for the good he is bringing about, even if you don’t see it yet. (Quote source here.)
As the story of Rahab shows us, we can never really know what God is doing and who He is using “behind the scenes” in our own lives and circumstances until God’s timing is right and He decides to brings them out into the open.
There is always a “bigger story” going on behind the scenes in our lives. In the story of Rahab, it doesn’t end with her hiding of those two spies, and the destruction of Jericho that only she and her family survived. She ended up marrying one of those two spies, Salmon, and she gave birth to Boaz, who is found in the story of the Book of Ruth in the Old Testament, and Rahab shows up again in the genealogy of Jesus in Matthew 1:5.
In a list of 30 Life Principles found in Dr. Charles Stanley’s “Life’s Principles Bible,” Life Principle #14 is “God acts on the behalf of those who wait for him.” And waiting is a part of God’s working behind the scenes of our lives. Dr. Stanley states the following regarding Life Principle #14:
In this hurry-up world, waiting for anything can cause us to lose our temper and our good sense—more frequently than we care to admit! No one enjoys waiting in line. We don’t like waiting at stoplights. We don’t like waiting for dinner. We don’t even like waiting for good things, like for fish to bite. We want what we want right now.
Yet the Word of God insists that we learn some of life’s greatest lessons while we wait. Waiting rooms can be hard classrooms, but God promises vast rewards to those who wait for Him. God plans to use the long pauses in our lives for our blessing . . . if we let Him.
Why does God so often ask us to wait? Let’s consider five major rewards of waiting.
1. We discover God’s will.
“The Lord is good to those who wait for Him, to the person who seeks Him” (Lam. 3:25). God does not allow delays in giving us the desire of our heart to lead us along. Rather, we know that even as we wait, He is working all things together for our good and His glory (Rom. 8:28). Yet, as we eagerly anticipate His provision, we must keep our eyes on Him—listening for His voice and direction. In that way, we learn to do His will and our relationship with Him grows deeper.
2. We receive supernatural energy and strength.
God invites us to claim His promise in Isaiah 40:29–31: “He gives strength to the weary, and to him who lacks might He increases power. Though youths grow weary and tired, and vigorous young men stumble badly, yet those who wait for the Lord will gain new strength; they will mount up with wings like eagles, they will run and not get tired, they will walk and not become weary.”
Just as God deepens our relationship with Him through times of waiting, He also increases our energy, faith, endurance, and strength. We grow in the likeness of Christ and all of His attributes—including in love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control (Gal. 5:22, 23). Surely, waiting on Him is never wasted time!
3. We win battles.
“Wait for the Lord, and He will save you” (Prov. 20:22). How wonderful to see the Lord rescue us and bless us with His favor. When we do things our way, in our own hurried time, we end up defeated. But when we wait on God and obey His commands, He ensures our victory and keeps us from foolish and precipitous acts.
4. We see the fulfillment of our faith.
“Those who hopefully wait for Me will not be put to shame” (Is. 49:23). In the end, we’ll never feel embarrassed for waiting on God; it’s always the smart thing to do. Although others may encourage us to forge ahead instead of waiting on the Lord, we must remember that He is the only One who can truly help us and that He will never let us down. And when we trust Him and obey, surely we will see the fulfillment of every hope we’ve entrusted to Him.
5. We see God working on our behalf.
Isaiah spoke of the God “who acts on behalf of the one who waits for Him” (Is. 64:4). What a wonderful promise! While we actively wait, He actively works. Think of this: every single day, we have the greatest Mediator working on our behalf. Even when things seem to go wrong, He is making sure that everything works according to His purpose.
Although waiting can be one of the more difficult things in the Christian life, it is not wasted time. God gives us instructions through periods of actively waiting. He may change our circumstances while we wait. He keeps us in step with Himself and prepares us for His answers. He uses the time to sift our motives and strengthen our faith. And when we choose to wait, God rewards us with blessings both large and unexpected.
Think of waiting on God as something like planting a garden. You put a seed under the soil and water it. And then you wait.
After the sun and rain nourish the earth, the seeds begin to grow; and one day, finally, you begin to see evidence of what you’ve planted. Now, suppose you had grown impatient and dug up your seeds because nothing seemed to be happening? You would have ruined your garden.
Remember, some fruit takes a long time to mature—and the One who wants to bring it forth in our lives knows exactly how long we need to wait. Therefore, trust Him and be patient, because He is producing the most wonderful and precious fruit that you could ever hope for or imagine. (Quote source: Adapted from The Charles F. Stanley Life Principles Bible ©2009, at this link.)
I’ll end this post with the words from a short article titled, “God is at Work,” by Kevin B. Bullard, author and one-half of the duo behind Marriage Works! Inc, (his wife, Cetelia, is the other half).
Esther is a book of the Bible that never mentions God’s name. But, don’t think believe for a minute that he was uninvolved. He was hard at work behind the scenes.
By the time the book ends, we’re left with a trail of twists & turns, deceptions, betrayals, surprises, hesitations, and ultimately, God’s will being done.
Talking about God may be off-limits in your house, making him seem uninvolved. Or perhaps your spouse is cool to the idea of you attending or giving offerings to “that church.” Maybe you’ve been praying to God for your spouse’s decision to follow Christ, yet it appears that all the forces of darkness are making life tougher because of your request. Maybe you’ve been crying out to God, and it seems like he’s far away from you and your marriage.
There’s hope in Jesus’s words, “My Father is always working, and so am I.”
Take courage. God is at work. (Quote source here.)
So, if you’re still waiting and wondering, don’t give up . . . ever (as in Luke 18:1) as behind the scenes . . .
God is still working . . .
Making the impossible . . .
Possible . . . .
YouTube Video: “The God of the Impossible” by Lincoln Brewster: