1 My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?
Why are you so far from saving me,
so far from my cries of anguish?
2 My God, I cry out by day, but you do not answer,
by night, but I find no rest.
3 Yet you are enthroned as the Holy One;
you are the one Israel praises.
4 In you our ancestors put their trust;
they trusted and you delivered them.
5 To you they cried out and were saved;
in you they trusted and were not put to shame.
In the midst of mass shootings, political division, and natural disasters, we may find ourselves asking, “Where is God?” In our own messy and broken lives, we may wonder if God even cares about us. It’s one of the most common experiences of the Christian life. God seems far away, distant, and you can barely eke out a prayer.
The Psalmist feels your pain.
How long, Lord? Will you forget me forever?
How long will you hide your face from me?
How long must I wrestle with my thoughts and day after day have sorrow in my heart?
How long will my enemy triumph over me? (Psalm 13)
If this sounds like you, take comfort - you are not experiencing anything new. Since the beginning of time, Christians have felt far from God at some point or another. So where do we turn when God seems distant?
In Psalm 22, the writer gives us a clue. The first few verses are a cry of lament, reflecting the pain of feeling God is not listening. But then, the Psalmist seems to remember the truth, “Yet you are holy, enthroned on the praises of Israel. In you our fathers trusted; they trusted, and you delivered them." Despite feeling rejected, and full of despair, the writer shifted focus to what he knew to be true: God is holy and has been faithful to deliver his people, over and over again. These truths were learned over time, of course. In a time of struggle, the Psalmist relied on the scriptures, history and experience to remind him that no matter what he was “feeling,” God is faithful to remain with us, always.
I pray you don’t experience a feeling of distance from God, but if you do, rely on what you know to be true, what you have learned over time, and what the scriptures and thousands of years of history have taught us. God is with us. God is for us. Yesterday, today, and always. Thanks be to God.
God, I sometimes struggle to believe you are with me. Forgive me for not noticing your presence. Please help me become more aware of the way you are working with me and for me. Show me the big and small ways you are guiding me, calling me, and providing for me. Give me the courage to proclaim your presence and live in gratitude for your constant grace. Thank you, Lord. In the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, Amen.
Scripture taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version ® NIV ®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2014 by Biblica, Inc.®. Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.