Why, Lord, do you stand far off? Why do you hide yourself in times of trouble? (Psalm 10:1)
[The book of psalms is our songbook of life—in celebration or grief, in confidence or confusion, in joy or anger or despair. I invite you to read and reflect on these songs of life wherever YOU are this week. Read the psalm, read my reflection below, then consider posting and sharing your own observations at the bottom of the page.Today’s devotion is adapted from a post on October 11, 2018]
“God is with us” (so what can I do?)
A few years ago, I actually got to fly an airplane! We were taping a promotional video for a Bible study series I was kicking off at our church, and my friend took me up in his very cool vintage Piper Cub to get some fun shots from the air. Just as the sun was setting over the Wisconsin horizon, he turned back to me and said, “Do you want to give it a try?” Five seconds later I was flying. It was an awesome experience! I tried my best to keep us on course and in the air, while my friend tried in vain to explain to me the difference between pitch, roll and yaw! I felt lost, even though the pilot was right there with me. With him, it was exhilarating…without him it would have been absolutely terrifying–and probably fatal!
In Psalm 10 the writer begins with a question a lot of people are asking: “Why, Lord, do you stand far off? Why do you hide yourself in times of trouble?” Is this a rhetorical question, or is the psalmist looking for an answer?
Troubles are obvious, urgent and everywhere. The writer describes an upside-down world where ungodly, unscrupulous, arrogant and self-serving leaders seem to be running amuck over the needs of the most helpless and vulnerable—and then lying or bragging about it. It’s a world we are all-too-familiar with—just turn on the news! “Why, Lord, do you stand far off,” still, in these troubled times.
He doesn’t question the existence of God…or even the power of God. It’s not that God’s not there, or that He is unable to do anything. What bothers the psalmist is that God seems to be choosing to stand back and remain silent and disengaged. But why?
It’s scary to think God is far off; but it may be even scarier to think he is here and not do anything.
“But you, God, see the trouble of the afflicted; you consider their grief and take it in hand.
The victims commit themselves to you; you are the helper of the fatherless. You, Lord, hear the desire of the afflicted; you encourage them, and you listen to their cry.” (Psalm 10:14,17)
YES! God sees and saves; God hears and helps; God listens and encourages. And sometimes God takes His hands off the wheel, turns to those who are close to Him and says “Do you want to give it a try? Look at the trouble of the afflicted! Consider their grief and take it in hand! Help them, hear them, heal them! And don’t forget, I am right here with you.”
One time Jesus was teaching a crowd of people late into the day. His disciples came to him and told him the crowd was getting hungry, and maybe Jesus needed to wrap it up so they could all go and get something to eat. Jesus turned to them and said, “You give them something to eat.”
(Mark 6:30-44) Jesus wanted them to know they could care for and serve people too…they could take the wheel and fly.
God is right here with us! He is with us to bring us help and hope in our own troubles, and He is with us when we bring help and hope to the helpless and hopeless world around us. Because God is with us, we can speak His life-giving words and show His life-giving love. And we can “Share the Life” that can only be found in Him. Apart from Jesus, we can do nothing for the sake of this troubled world, but with him there is nothing we can’t do! (John 15:5-8).
With Him it’s exhilarating, without Him it’s terrifying! So, stay close to Him, and always stay thirsty for Him, friends!