I recognize that this title states an impossibility – there’s never a time when God isn’t there. He’s always there whether or not we sense His presence. But there are times in life when it seems like God isn’t there. Times when we struggle with a God who is silent. What do we do then? I think there is a clue in Psalm 13. If you haven’t read it in a while, stop now and read it before you read the rest of this blog. It’s short.
Psalm 13 is a lament written by David. And he doesn’t mince any words getting to the core issue: How long, O Lord? Will You forget me forever (Vs 1)?
For David it seemed like God wasn’t there or at least that God had forgotten him. Just in case God didn’t get the idea David followed that question up with another: How long will You hide Your face from me (Vs 1)? In that culture when the king hid his face it meant that he withheld his blessing. David was feeling left out by a God who seemed to be absent from the details of his life.
The result of God’s disappearing act (at least that was how David saw it) was that David had a sense of being on his own in life without anyone, especially God, to help him. Ever been there? Ever felt as if God had gone AWOL and you were on your own? That’s where David was. In fact he was so alone that he thought that this might literally be the end (Vs 3).
So what’s the answer? When you feel like God isn’t there for you and you’re on your own – what do you do?
David doesn’t end the Psalm without giving us three simple things that every Christian needs to do when it seems that God isn’t there.
1. Keep Trusting in His Goodness
But I have trusted in Your mercy (Vs 5).
Even though he was going through a spiritual desert, David determined that the one thing that was always true was God’s goodness and he could trust in that.
Trusting in God’s goodness is saying, God I’m going to choose to believe that You are good to me even when I don’t see any evidence of Your goodness. It’s putting Truth before feelings. It’s putting what you know is right before what you feel is wrong.
2. Keep Rejoicing in His Salvation
My heart shall rejoice in Your salvation (Vs 5).
Rejoicing is difficult when you think God is ignoring you. But that’s what David resolved to do.
Rejoicing in His salvation is saying God I’m going to rejoice in what I know is true because if you can save me, you can take care of me. Do you really think that we have a God who has gone to such great lengths to save us only to turn His back on us?
And even if He isn’t doing anything that we can identify right now, isn’t the fact that He saved you enough evidence of His presence?
3. Keep Remembering His Blessings
I will sing to the Lord, because He has dealt bountifully with me (Vs 6).
Remembering has great value. It encourages. It gives hope. It stirs our emotions. It reminds us that God IS there and that He CAN help us.
Remembering His blessings is saying God I know that if you blessed me in the past you can and will bless me in the future.
It’s affirming that God is interested in your life and that without Him life would a lot worse than we think it is.
Trusting in God’s goodness, rejoicing in His salvation and remembering His blessings are all acts of Faith. It takes faith to trust God when you can’t sense His presence. It takes faith to rejoice in the fact that God saved you when He doesn’t seem to be around. It takes faith to remember His blessings when it doesn’t seem like He’s blessing you now.
So the next time you think that God isn’t there, follow David’s lead.
Stay in the Word