Are You There God?
How long, O LORD? Will you forget me forever? How long will you hide your face from me? Psalm 13:1, NIV
Are you there, God? I am hurting. Please be near to me.
I remember the first time I cried out like this to God. Really cried out from a place of pain and agony. Of confusion and of understanding that was little to none.
Still really just a child, I was only 17 and had just learned of what was really going on in my family. It apparently had been broken and troubled for many years. But I did not know up until then, and had been shielded from the truth.
In one afternoon, though, everything I had believed in—the image of a strong family unit I thought I knew and could trust in—all came crashing down. Like a house of flimsy cards.
A couple of years later, my parents would divorce. And this time of trial in my life would continue through many more years of grief, withdrawal, and searching for something or someone to offer comfort and heal my pain.
I dare say I felt a lot like David did in Psalm 13:
How long, O LORD? Will you forget me forever? How long will you hide your face from me? How long must I wrestle with my thoughts and every day have sorrow in my heart? How long will my enemy triumph over me? Look on me and answer O LORD my God. Give light to my eyes, or I will sleep in death; my enemy will say, “I have overcome him,” and my foes will rejoice when I fall.
Now David was in a serious time of trial when he wrote this. He was facing an illness, and his condition was dire. His enemies would have liked nothing more than to see him defeated (even unto death).
I know this feeling, too. In a different manner—but in the same reality—I was also asking to be delivered from my circumstances. From the horrible pain of the dissolution of my family as I knew it.
Whether divorce has touched you in some way or not, all of us have been through some sort of trial that has shaken us to the very core. That has rattled our bones. That has turned our lives upside down. Whether it be a broken relationship, the death of a loved one, the dashing to pieces of a dream, childlessness, defeat in your career or prolonged singleness . . . we all know what it means to lose something or to have a void in our lives.
During times like these, I believe that the Enemy would like nothing more than for our faith to die and for us never again to bear fruit. But it is during our trials that we must continue seeking God. For it is while our faith is being tested that we are being molded into the image of Christ.
As believers, we are advised many times throughout Scripture to expect trials. Yes, we will know both suffering and rejoicing as we walk with the Lord. We are promised as such. And whether we are just coming out of a trial, are currently in the midst of one or are unknowingly getting ready to go through one, we must cling to the knowledge that trials produce a faith that results in praise.
Never forget: God is there. He is good. He is sovereign. And he is in control.
But I trust in your unfailing love; my heart rejoices in your salvation. I will sing to the LORD for he has been good to me (Psa. 13:5-6).
Intersecting Faith & Life:
Like the old hymn says, “there is a balm in Gilead to make the wounded whole” (Jer. 8:22). Only God can heal us and bring us through. Let us cling to the knowledge that despite our trials, God sacrificed his Son for us and is worthy of our praise.
1 Peter 1:6-9, NIV
James 1:2-4, NIV