In the silence
A dear friend and pastor recently lost his wife of 30+ years. In his sorrow he wrote of his trust and hope in the Lord:
The words of the writer of this Psalm become our words, “How long, O Lord? Will You forget me forever? How long will You hide Your face from me? How long shall I take counsel in my soul, having sorrow in my heart all the day? How long will my enemy be exalted over me?” (Psalm 13:1-2)
There are times that God feels so distant, so far away. We struggle, we cry out to God, and it’s as if He doesn’t hear us. Like the psalmist and like a loop recording we ask, “How long, how long…?” as we beg for some relief.
One of the reasons I love the Psalms is because they are so honest. Many of them give voice to what we are experiencing right now. They express our frustrations, our sense of despondency, our feelings of isolation and distance.
But while these psalms give expression to our struggles and feeling of isolation, they don’t camp there. Almost always they go back to the truth of who God is, His faithfulness, His loving kindness and His provision in the midst of trial.
While God does not begrudge us our emotions, He does not want us to remain there. Rather, He wants us to grasp the truth of who He is no matter how we feel.
There are times when we are preoccupied with the demands of an all-too-busy life to notice that silence reveals God’s loving presence. Like a mother who protectively and lovingly wraps her arms around her weeping child, rocking him back and forth until he settles down and finds rest in her bosom, “God tends his flock like a shepherd. He gathers His lambs into His arms and holds them close to his heart” (Isaiah 40:11).
Jesus expressed that same feeling and sense of isolation on the cross. “My God, my God, why have You forsaken me?” (Matthew 27:46). The Apostle Paul explained why Jesus went through that agony when he wrote, “God made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him” (2 Corinthians 5:21).
Jesus’ finished work on the cross brought believers so close to God that there will never be a time when God will ever be distant. He is always there. He is there with you now. Even in the silence. So we stand not on our feelings but on the truth of His Word, “I will never leave you, nor will I ever forsake you” (Hebrews 13:5).
Ed Jones pastors Fellowship at the Ranch Church at Robson Ranch. This nondenominational church meets at the Robson Clubhouse on Sunday mornings at 10:30 a.m. Visit Fellowship’s website: www.fellowshipattheranchchurch.com for information.