Why, O Lord do you seem so far away?
Longing, frustration, loneliness, confusion--here we are again. What is God doing? What does He think about me? Has He forgotten me? The trail we walk is sometimes so winding that it seems to go nowhere. It feels as though our lives have gotten off course and maybe He's unaware. We want to turn back and go to what we know, we want to stop and find people who will commiserate with us, we want to turn any direction other than the one we are going. Words that once seemed sure, feel like a thin paper map, and we fear that a wind will come and blow it to pieces. We begin to question what we once knew; we begin to question God's character; we certainly question our own.
When Scripture refers to God as a stronghold it gives us the picture of the security and strength that He is and provides. We never read that the world we inhabit will be secure or fair, we read the opposite actually. We will have trouble, people will lie and cheat and steal, prayers may seem unanswered.
And yet, in the midst of suffering or disappointment or confusion, we must listen to The Great Whisperer. The Spirit who raised our Jesus and lives in us reminds us of truth--truth that is strong and unchanging. Truth that we cling to when everything else is giving way underneath.
When I am suffering and caught up in the worst of fears, I often make a list I title what I know. The simple writing of this list reorients my thinking and lifts my eyes to a faithful God and away from myself. Sometimes my list is just a few words and sometimes it’s longer. Here is my most recent one.
What I Know:
God's love for me is unchanging.
There is nothing I can do to make Him love me less and nothing I can do to make Him love me more because His affection for me is based on His character, not on mine.
He is aware of my lot and is involved in the details of it.
The things God is accomplishing in me in the midst of this time is more important than the things I feel I should be accomplishing.
If He is not responding to my request, it is because waiting is better than a resolution.
His desire for me, above all else, is that I know Him from personal experience, not just hearsay.
There are some realities I learn about God that I only understand through struggle and suffering.
My heart, though lukewarm, doubting, wandering, or questioning, securely belongs to Him because He paid the highest price for it.
I hold onto His words, but during times when my grip is weak, they hold me. And I am held by the strong God who knows me and knows what He is doing. When the world around me is uncertain and dark, He holds me close.