“Why, O Lord, do you stand far away?
Why do you hide yourself in times of trouble?” – Psalm 10:1
The feeling that God is absent or hiding himself or staying away is not new. We’ve all felt it at some time or another and the writer of this Psalm certainly felt it as well. Things are falling apart, good people are being taken advantage of and the bad people seem to be winning. Life seems unfair and falling apart. These are the time we pause and ask God… “Why have you forsaken me?”
But He hasn’t. He simply has the patience to allow the natural consequences to take their course.
You see, our Father in Heaven is just that… our Father. If you want to understand His love for us, examine a father’s love for his kids.
I’m a father and one of my four kids will often do things that lead to natural consequences. This means that as a result of wrong decisions, he will experience pain. It also means that others around him can experience pain as well. However if I keep saving him from the pain, then he will never learn (and sometimes it seems he will never learn anyway). The pain is there for a reason. It is a signal to him that something is not right and as he learns to read those signals better, and understand the consequences for his actions, he can eventually improve his actions.
As a father, I cannot allow ALL consequences to flow because some could be too disastrous. I have to make a judgement to determine if the actions should be allowed to follow their normal course or if I should stop them. This action takes patience. As a father, I can look beyond the immediate feelings of pain he will experience (physical or emotional) and see the long term benefit he can learn. He may feel devastated in the moment and even be frustrated or mad that I didn’t stop the consequence. Sound familiar?
God’s patience is far greater than ours. His perspective is eternal. This means that ALL pain in this life is temporary. What matters most of all to our Father in Heaven is our eternal soul. So our human body experiencing pain, even severe pain, is temporary in the big picture of eternity.
We live in a broken world where there is temptation and sin. As a result, we constantly see things that in this lifetime seem so unfair. But God’s perspective is eternal and His patience is endless. Just as I am willing to allow my son to experience pain in the short term, in order to benefit in the long term… God is willing to allow us to experience pain in this short life.
After all, remember what eternity is… from the closing of Amazing Grace…
“When we’ve been there ten thousand years,
Bright shining as the sun,
We’ve no less days to sing God’s praise
Than when we’d first begun.”