“O Lord, why do you stand so far away?” (Psalm 10:1).
There’s a great question. Why would God keep His distance? Why does He seem so far away? Why does God seem like He’s not around? More importantly, why does God seem like He’s not around when we need Him?
Jesus said He would always be with us (Matthew 28:20). He promised to never leave or forsake us (Hebrews 13:5). God dwelt in the midst of His people in a tabernacle (Exodus 25:8), a temple (1 King 16:13) and His own Son (John 1:14). We hang onto these promises for dear life, yet we have this nagging sensation that God has abandoned us because of something we’ve done or haven’t done.
Maybe it’s because we expected it to be easy. We figured that if God were around we could coast. That He would open up a hole for us to run through, provide the momentum, and run interference for us. So each challenge, problem or dilemma makes us wonder, “Hey, God, what’s up? Why are you so far away?”
Perhaps we need to hear again what Jesus said in the gospel this morning: “In the world you will have tribulation” (John 16:33.) It’s going to be hard, difficult, infuriating, impossible. But that doesn’t mean for a minute that God isn’t around. In some ways, it’s proof that He is. Jesus said He would bring conflict into families, persecution to the church, hatred toward His disciples and a cross for those who follow. Since the new life He gives us runs counter to the wide path that leads to destruction, we can expect to feel friction, experience conflict and get to know rejection when we follow Him. So He must be close by.
Actually, if you keep reading Psalm 10, you’ll notice that it’s the wicked who claims that God’s not around. We know better.