Why, O Lord, do you stand far away?
Why do you hide yourself in times of trouble?
Sometimes God seems hidden. Distant. Remote. Absent.
Maybe it is a season of doubt. Or a season of difficulties and suffering. Or a season of spiritual onslaught. Or a season of unanswered prayer. But God seems absent.
Have you experienced this?
David did. Can you hear the pain in his voice? Why, O Lord, do you stand far away? Why do you hide yourself in times of trouble? (Psalm 10:1).
Or, a few psalms later, David again lifts his lonely voice to the Lord: How long, O Lord? Will you forget me forever? How long will you hide your face from me? (Psalm 13:1).
Even Jesus, the Son of David, felt God's absence. On the cross he cries out with great emotion: My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? (Matthew 27:46).
Perhaps right now it feels to you that God is hidden. If so, you are in good company. David and Jesus and many more felt this.
What do you do when God seems absent? Here are some thoughts:
Cry out. That's what David did. And Jesus did. Cry out. Don't be silent. Bring the matter to God's attention. He is listening even when we don't sense he is. Cry out.
Keep talking. Don't run and hide from God. Don't withdraw. Keep talking.
Enlist intercessors. Get others to pray for you. That's what the body of Christ is for, to love one another and pray for one another. Enlist intercessors.
Recognize God uses these times. God uses times of hiddenness to build faith in us. We become more desperate for God, more dependent on God.
Stand on God's promises. Take one or two promises in the Bible and cling to them. Here are a few ideas:
[God] has said:
"I will never leave you nor forsake you."
Cast your burden on the Lord,
and he will sustain you;
he will never permit
the righteous to be moved.
And behold, I am with you always,
to the end of the age.
When you pass through the waters,
I will be with you;
and through the rivers,
they shall not overwhelm you;
when you walk through fire
you shall not be burned,
and the flame shall not consume you.