There have been many instances in my life when I have sought the Lord and he seemed far away. I have sought him in the presence of the Blessed Sacrament and during the Eucharistic Celebration and I was met with a wall of silence. I have cried bitterly in His presence looking for an answer, a solution but God seemed a million miles away.
It is very easy to worship God when things are going great in your life – when he has provided food, friends, family, health, job and happiness. But when the circumstances change and the life becomes in complete darkness, how we will be able to worship him? The deepest and purest part of worship is praising God in the midst of your pain, thanking God during a trial, trusting him when tempted, surrendering our sufferings and above all loving him when he seems distant.
Our friendship with God is often tested and we may not feel close to him at that moment. To mature our relationship God will often test it with periods of seeming separation. In those moments we may feel that he has abandoned or forgotten us.
Besides Jesus David shared a close relationship with God and God even called him “a man after my own heart” (1 Samuel 13:14). Yet David frequently complained of God’s absence, “Why have you forsaken me? Why do you remain so distant? Why do you ignore my cries for help? Why have you abandoned me?” These are some of the questions I have asked myself every time I found myself in a tough situation. Of course God has not abandoned us for he has promised repeatedly, “I will never leave you nor forsake you”.
There are times, days and months that you feel the distance between you and God. You wake up and realize that you are not able to pray. At such times remember that God has not distanced us. He is merely testing and maturing our friendship. Even Job felt this. Behold, I go forward, but he is not there; and backward, but I cannot perceive him: On the left hand, where he doth work, but I cannot behold him: he hideth himself on the right hand, that I cannot see him: But he knoweth the way that I take: when he hath tried me, I shall come forth as gold (Job 23: 8-10).
When God seem distant we may feel that he is angry or punishing us for our sins. But often this feeling of abandonment or estrangement from God has nothing to do with our sin. It is a test of faith, one we all must face. Will we continue to love, trust, obey and worship God even when you have no sense of his presence or visible evidence of his work in our life?
How do you praise God when you don’t understand what’s happening in your life and God is silent? How do you stay connected in a crisis without communication? When these questions arise in my mind I am often reminded of Job and what he said in a situation like this. “Then Job arose, and rent his mantle, and shaved his head, and fell down upon the ground, and worshipped, and said, Naked came I out of my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return thither: the Lord gave, and the Lord hath taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord” (Job 1: 20-21).
At times like this pour out your heart out to the Lord. Admit your hopelessness like David did when he said, “I believed, so I said, I am completely ruined” (Ps 116: 10). This verse talks about faith and hopelessness in the same breath. This is what God wants to admit our helplessness but trust him nevertheless.
Even in times of your trouble and tribulations find reasons to praise and thank God just like Job did in Job 10: 12-16. The Lord is good and loving. That he is all powerful. That he notices every detail of my life. That he is in control. That he has a plan for me. That he will save me. Remember even if God didn’t do a thing for us we still have a lot to thank for. He gave his only son upon the cross for our sins. This is the greatest reason for worship. Unfortunately we forget the agonizing sacrifice God made on our behalf.
In our times of trials and tribulations and wen we are utterly hopeless let us hold fast on to this verse and let it be our mantra. For God has said I will never leave you, I will never abandon you (Hebrews 13:5).