Do you ever have a week where God seems silent and distant to you?
Your “theology” tells you that He is ever present and that He cares deeply for your problems and needs.
Your feelings tell you that your theology must be wrong.
There aren’t too many things in life that can make me feel as hopeless as I do when I wonder where God is. It hurts to the core, the tears flow, sleep runs away, and a cloud of depression smothers me.
In our home, when my husband and I feel this way, we joke that we want to run away to Canada. It seems like if I could just jump in the car and drive north over the border, maybe I could escape all the problems of life that seem insurmountable. I could hide in some remote forest, next to a lake, and I could seek for God. Maybe then He would hear me and help.
In Psalm 11:1, David writes, “Flee like a bird to your mountain.” I wrote “Canada” in the margin of my Bible. I just want to flee like a bird to Canada.
Sometimes this despair is brought on because the world feels like a train speeding toward certain collision. I feel powerless to stop it. Sometimes the despair is brought on because I feel like the world is going to collide with me.
“For look, the wicked bend their bows;
they set their arrows against the strings
to shoot from the shadows
at the upright in heart.
When the foundations are being destroyed,
what can the righteous do?” (Psalm 11:2-3)
Yes, what can the righteous do? Do you hear his agony? He’s trying to live a righteous life and to walk in obedience with God, but he feels like one solitary man, trying to hold up a crumbling building with his own, small hands.
And the brick are falling.
And where is God?
Yet Psalm 11 goes on to say,
“YHWH is in his holy temple;
YHWH is on his heavenly throne” (Psalm 11:4).
This reminds me of an old hymn, “The Lord Is in His Holy Temple,” which my mom used to play on the organ on Sunday mornings.
The Lord is in His holy temple,
The Lord is in His holy temple,
Let all the earth keep silence,
Let all the earth keep silence before Him.
(taken from Habakkuk 2:20)
Keeping silence when my heart is fearful is only possible when I see that He is still on His throne.
When I see Him “high and lifted up,” as Isaiah did (Isaiah 6:1-8), on a throne and surrounded by majesty, then I am humbled. I am reminded that He is King.
His hand is on history.
His hand is on my life.
Nothing surprises Him.
Which is why David started this Psalm like this:
In YHWH I take refuge.
How then can you say to me:
“Flee like a bird to your mountain” (Psalm 11:1)
Titus 2:5 tells us young women to be “self-controlled.” Albert Barnes writes that we are to “have our desires and passions well regulated.” Matthew Henry says we are to “govern well our passions and affections, so as not to be hurried away by them to any thing that is evil or indecent.”
I can’t bring my feelings, passions, and desires under control in my own power. Paul tells me to not be drunk with wine (which is a common way to relieve our feelings of fear or frustration) but to
“…be filled with the Spirit. Speak to one another with psalms, hymns and spiritual songs. Sing and make music in your heart to the Lord, always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ” (Ephesians 5:18-20).
Father, may I choose to see Your hand in every day and every circumstance.
And when I can’t? May I choose to speak your word, to sing, and to give thanks for everything.
“YHWH will save me,
and we will sing with stringed instruments
all the days of our lives
in the temple of YHWH” (Isaiah 38:20).