God is close, especially when we think he's not

  • Follow Your Faith

To live in covenant with God means that God cares. Try to tell that to people smarting from the sting of the death of a loved one, and they might laugh in your face:

"If God cares, where was he the day my spouse died of cancer, leaving me to raise three kids by myself?"

Sometimes it does appear God has put up a sign "Gone fishing. Be back tomorrow," but he is never closer than when we think he is far away. Those lonely "nobody loves me" feelings have more to do with our being out of touch with God than vice versa.

During the tough times, God speaks through his Word, newspaper, friends, customers, parents, teachers, pastors, neighbors or relatives, but his voice is lost amid the other voices clamoring for our attention. Therefore, let us be more sensitive to listen for God's still, small voice of comfort, hope and sustaining grace. God's covenant is everlasting and will never forsake us.

One of my favorite Bible passages is Psalms 103: 8-14. To paraphrase, God says:

I know you better than you do yourself. In spite of the times when you forsake me, I will not, no, I cannot, ever forsake you. From time to time, I will chide you, and I will judge your wrongful acts as I did on the people of Israel in the time of Moses. But, as in the days of old, so now I will show goodness, mercy, and forgiveness.

I may punish you for your sins, but not as much as you deserve. I can never treat any of my children as good-for-nothing, as people beyond hope. I will treat you all as a gracious and understanding parent treats his children. Discipline will come, but not as from a stubborn or vengeful father who delights in catching his children in error and punishing them accordingly.

I punish not to destroy but to restore, in order to bring you back in line with my will and purposes. I have from the very beginning of your life made a plan for your life and that plan will be fulfilled one way or another.

In Verse 14 -- "For he knoweth our frame ..." -- the reference to "frame" could include not just our bodies but also our every scheme, thought, intention, imagination of our heart, urge or impulse that drives us to do good or evil. He does not always like what he sees us doing, but never forget that, along with his all-knowing power, he is all-loving and all-forgiving.

God cares for us. Thanks be to God!

DR. GENE NORRIS IS A LOCAL PRESBYTERIAN PASTOR.


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