seems distant - Trust in the Salvation of God
long, O Lord? Will you
forget me forever?
will you hide your face from me?
long must I wrestle with my thoughts
every day have sorrow in my heart?
will my enemy triumph over me?
on me and answer, O Lord my God.
light to my eyes, or I will sleep in death;
enemy will say, “I have overcome him,”
foes will rejoice when I fall.
I trust in your unfailing love;
rejoices in your salvation.
6I will sing to the Lord, for he has been good to
A well‑known Bible
teacher was asked if there were ever times during is personal devotions if he
experienced dry times? His answer was an amazing, never. Challenged, he stuck to
his guns, insisting that he never had times when God seemed distant. His
reply—“Brother, if you expect nothing from God, you will get it every
In other words, the source of a dry spell could very well be the
lack of expectancy and faith... or unrepentant sin.
us what to do when God seems distant. Out of the depths of David’s heart he
repeats four times, “How long?” Nothing tells us that he has sinned, but his enemy was about to get the best of him.
God seemed unavailable. Have you ever been there? You desperately call out to
God... but finally, we rest in the
joy of knowing that God will answer. When God seems distant, we must call and
trust in His unfailing love.
1. The problem: God seems
It seemed as if God had forgotten David, had
hidden Himself from him, and as if it would last forever. It always seems as though times of intense trial last forever. The hard thing about it is that you have to
wait. We live in a day that says, “Hurry,” but often God says, “Wait!” The trouble is, "I’m in a hurry, but God isn’t.”
Have you ever noticed the difference between God’s timetable and ours?
We think in terms of minutes, hours, and days, but God works by means of
“Eternity.” The story of Joseph is a good example. God would put him in a
position of influence in Egypt. How did He get Joseph there? First, he had him
sold into slavery by his brothers when he was a teenager. He was sold as a slave
and hauled off to a foreign land. Then, he had him falsely accused by Potiphar’s
wife and thrown into prison. A long time went by
Finally, an opportunity
came to interpret the dreams of a couple of fellow inmates. One of the men, the
king’s cupbearer, would end up released and restored to his job. Joseph pled,
“Remember me and get me out of here!” The cupbearer assured him that he
would--but he forgot! The next verse (Gen. 41:1) reads, “Now it happened at the
end of two years that Pharaoh had a dream ....” For two more years Joseph
languished in prison in Egypt.
We will all go through
it. We go through a time of trial , call out to God, but He doesn't answer. So
we try to figure out how to get out of our own circumstances, but nothing works.
You go from the heights of hope to the depths of despair so many times that your
stomach can’t take much more. While those who aren't following the Lord are
living the good life in the palace while you’re seeking the Lord from the cave.
There are two lessons to remember at such a time:
God has not forgotten you! Isaiah 49:14‑15: “But Zion said, ‘The Lord
has forsaken me, and the Lord has forgotten me.’ ‘Can a woman forget her nursing
child, and have no compassion on the son of her womb? Even these may forget, but
I will not forget you.’"
God Himself has said, ‘I will never desert you,
nor will I ever forsake you” (Hebrews 13:5). God is a champion waiter
and we must wait along with him. He does have a purpose and plan. God wants to build maturity as we learn to trust Him. Just as it
takes years to grow an oak tree, so it takes years to build the godly
character qualities needed to be an effective servant of the Lord.
There is no such thing as instant godliness. We are used to instant
everything--but there is no instant godliness.
David was anointed as king
in his teens. He had a strong faith at that time, as we saw in his victory over
Goliath. Did God put him on the throne when he turned twenty-one? Twenty-five? Twenty-nine? No. Through all those years of running from Saul
and living in caves, David learned to wait upon God. God was developing David
That’s how God works.
If God has you shut up in some frustrating circumstances, and you are trying to
figure a way out, and it seems like God is far away—hang on! Let God do His
perfect work in you. Learn to wait on Him.
2. Our Petition: Call to the
Why do so many Christians never grow to
maturity? That might seem like an unreasonable statement, but it's true. When God seems distant to many, instead of calling out to Him, they
just shrug and go back into the world. Or, they go buy the
latest self-help book that promises to fix their problem, but nothing can grow us up in our faith than to trust in God alone. a. Our
prayers should be concern for God’s glory, not just for our happiness
Wow, this is a good one. Do we ever consider that our prayers are
selfish and often not what will give glory to God if we get what we want? David
wasn’t just praying for deliverance so that he could escape from his problems
and be happy. His fear was that the enemy would rejoice (v. 4). Since David was
God’s anointed king, if he died at the hands of his enemies, it would make God
look bad. God’s honor was tied up with David’s deliverance. So when in crisis,
we can call out to God to rescue us, but just for our relief, but for God’s
glory. God delights to honor such prayers.
David was sensitive to the
presence of God in his life. If he lost the sense of God’s presence, he went
after it with a holy fervor. The test of your faith is not when God’s presence
is real, but when in your faith God seems distant. If you seek Him, you will
find Him, but if you turn to the world or look for a quick fix for your problems
without seeking God, you won’t find Him.
must keep an awareness of God and the enemy before us at all times
As Christians, the honor of our God is at stake through us. If we
fail Him, the enemy will rejoice. Satan is trying to drag the name of our Savior
through the mud by getting us to forsake the Lord or fall into sin. We need to
keep God and His honor and the reality of our unseen evil adversary before us
at all times--so that we will not disgrace our Lord. 3. Praise: Trust in God’s unfailing
David has not yet been delivered, but he trusts in
the lovingkindness, “unfailing love” of God. His heart is filled with joy as he
thinks of the deliverance which God will bring about. By faith, David counts on
God’s future deliverance and says, “I will sing to the Lord, because He has
dealt bountifully with me” (v. 6).
So what changed?
David’s focus! From focusing on himself and his problems at the start of the
psalm, David shifted his thoughts to God’s loyal love and salvation. That shift
in focus moved him from confusion and depression to joy and praise! It was David
deliberate choice to do so.
He chose to interpret his circumstances by
God’s love rather than to interpret God’s love by his circumstances. In a time
of trial, Satan tries to get us to doubt God’s love. But we have to resist that
temptation and affirm with God’s Word that "He causes all things to work
together for good to those who love God” (Romans 8:28).