“Hear my cry, O God, listen to my prayer.
From the ends of the earth I call to you,
I call as my heart grows faint;
Lead me to the rock that is higher than I.”
Psalm 61:1-2 NIV
When God seems distant, it can feel as though we have been removed to the ends of the earth. If we imagine ourselves far away from him, separated by fear or danger, or difficult circumstances, we can feel so far from home that it seems we are fading away.
Many times this is related in the Bible as experienced by people you wouldn’t imagine ever felt far from God. Elijah wishes he were dead, Mary and Martha want to know why their God didn’t show up in time, Jacob wrestles with an angel, here King David tells it like it is, and Jonah is so stubborn he doesn’t cry out in prayer until he’s actually drowning. Even Jesus, on the cross, calls out “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”
All of these instances we will come back to, for it has been impressed upon me that our journey this year is about exploring those difficult, tearful places. Today I just want us to be encouraged that in feeling that we are as far away from God as we can possibly be, we are not alone, we are not the first ones to travel these distant-seeming shores, and also, we are closer to him in these moments than we might imagine. For our God hears the cry of the faint heart, and like the Prodigal Son, it is when our anguish at being away from him is the greatest, when it doesn’t make sense, when the brokenness takes us over, that we may find ourselves nearer the truth, and our feet led and empowered to run home.
photo from morguefile.com