In the daily living of life, sometimes it is difficult to see God at work. We go about our morning routine, drive into work, go about our business, have dinner with the family, and put the kids to bed. And sometimes in the ordinary living, God’s work seems absent.
But the problem is not whether or not God is actually present. The problem is our failure to realize it.
Like Jacob once we notice God’s activity, we will respond, “Surely the Lord was in this place and I was not aware of it.”
When Jesus taught the disciples to pray, he taught them several petitions that many of us pray to this very day. We’ll pray things like “Give us this day our daily bread” or “Deliver us from evil.” And God answers those prayers for us daily. But the way he does that is by doing his work while hidden in the work of ordinary people doing their ordinary jobs. God gives daily bread, and he does it through farmers and grocers and pizza makers. God protects us from evil through police officers and other public services.
We regularly pray for God’s healing, but often fail to notice that God is at work quietly healing when he is hidden in the work of doctors and surgeons and pharmacists.
Martin Luther described this way of working as the “mask of God.”
All our work in the field, in the garden, in the city, in the home, in struggle, in government-to what does it all amount before God except child's play, by means of which God is pleased to give his gifts in the field, at home, and everywhere? These are the masks of our Lord God, behind which he wants to be hidden and to do all things. - Martin Luther
Like an actor in a play, the actual person doing the work is hidden behind the mask at all times. The actor is doing the work, but what the audience sees and experiences is the character playing their role. To think of God as wearing a mask simply means that God is hidden in the work he does in the world. And the mask that he wears when doing his work is His people. God wears the mask of the police officer when protecting, the artist when entertaining, the parent when changing diapers, the blue jean designer when sewing a pair of jeans, and the barista when providing the morning shot of expresso.
Our work is a place where God does his work. As we serve and love our neighbors, God is hidden doing his work and loving the people around us.