Why, O Lord, do you stand far away? Why do you hide yourself in times of trouble? Psalm 10:1
On a whim, I stopped at a fast food restaurant to get a cold drink while dashing about with my to-do list of errands. The line of cars at the drive-through was six deep, so I parked to go inside instead. I saw a dear friend of mine through the glass. She was bent over her computer, holding her right hand to her mouth, worry lines exaggerated on her forehead. I waved to get her attention but she was too busy concentrating on what was on the screen to look up. I leaned over the small landscaped shrubs and tapped the glass. No response. I went inside and stood in front of her, ready to say something jovial. Then I saw a tear run down her cheek, so I slid into the booth and placed my hand over her left one as it crunched a to-go napkin. She jumped, then relief filled her face and she hugged me. “How did God know I’d need a good friend right now?” she whispered. On the screen was an email from her son with disturbing news.
David in Psalm 10 asked why God seemed so far away in times of trouble. I think if we are honest, that same question has crossed out thoughts as well. Why does God seem so far away? Back in the day, there used to be a bumper sticker that read something to the effect of “If you can’t feel God in your life, guess who moved?”
God’s love is constant, but our anger, our grief, and our doubts can push Him away from our thoughts. The negatives crowd out that small voice we know is not from our own brain waves. Despair robs us of the closeness we once felt. Yet the Bible tell us God is our refuge and strength in times of trouble.(Psalm 46:1)
God is always there. Sometimes we just need to look up from our troubles to see Him. Maybe it will be in the form of a friend, a rainbow on a stormy day, the words to a hymn, or a passage of Scripture. Perhaps it will be a sudden calm that coats us like a protective shell. David learned that. His faith helped him to see God through his despair. He says later on in Psalm 10 –
“O Lord, you hear the desire of the afflicted; you will strengthen their heart; you will incline your ear . . .” (vs. 17)
God is a gentleman. He waits to be asked before entering into our situations. He also knows our hearts, and when we just may need someone we know to pull into a fast food restaurant on a whim and see us, unaware that she is about to become His instrument of peace.