Today I’m thinking about intimacy with God when He seems far off. I am wondering how to respond to life and to God when I feel this way. David must have felt this way when he wrote Psalm 77.
I cried out to God for help; I cried out to God to hear me. When I was in distress, I sought the Lord; at night I stretched out untiring hands, and I would not be comforted. I remembered you, God, and I groaned; I meditated, and my spirit grew faint. You kept my eyes from closing; I was too troubled to speak. I thought about the former days, the years of long ago; I remembered my songs in the night. My heart meditated and my spirit asked:
“Will the Lord reject forever
Will he never show his favor again?
Has his unfailing love vanished forever?
Has his promise failed for all time?
Has God forgotten to be merciful?
Has He in anger withheld his compassion?” (v1-9)
See if you can identify with David — either with a situation you are in now or one from your recent past. Call to memory the questions you wanted answered. I’ve asked God all of the questions David asked, wondering when the pain would end, when would I ever feel God’s pleasure again.
After you get your mind into the place where David was, take a look at how he decided to respond to his pain.
Then I thought, “To this I will appeal: the years when the Most High stretched out his right hand. I will remember the deeds of the Lord; yes, I will remember your miracles of long ago. I will consider all your works and meditate on all your mighty deeds.” (v10-12)
David set his mind to remember things that God had done and the power it required for Him to do it. Then he made a list of some of the things God had done:
Your way, O God is holy. What god is great like our god?
You are the God who works wonders.
You are the God who performs miracles.
You display your power among the peoples.
With your mighty arm you redeemed your people, the descendants of Jacob and Joseph. (v13-15)
Next David gave an example of the power that only God has by showing how all of creation is under God’s rule and authority.
The waters saw you, God, the waters saw you and writhed; the very depths were convulsed. The clouds poured down water, the heavens resounded with thunder; your arrows flashed back and forth. Your thunder was heard in the whirlwind, your lightning lit up the world; the earth trembled and quaked. Your path led through the sea, your way through the mighty waters, though your footprints were not seen. You led your people like a flock by the hand of Moses and Aaron. (v16-20)
That same powerful, active God leads us by the hand even when we can’t see him doing so. I think that was David’s point. When it feels like God is far off we must set our minds toward remembering who God is and what he has done. My mother and father have been dead for decades; I can no longer feel their closeness. When I take the time to remember moments we shared, then the closeness I felt when they were alive becomes more real to me. Maybe what David is teaching us to do is kind of like that, except more profound and definitely more life-giving. What do you think?
Here’s a devotional journal page for you to get personal and intimate with God.