Thursday, February 10, 2011

why standest thou afar off? O Lord?

Pilgrim in the Slough of Despond

"Why standest thou afar off, O Lord?  Why hidest thou thyself in times of trouble?"  Psalm 10:1

"Lord, thou hast heard the desire of the humble:  thou wilt prepare their heart, thou wilt cause thine ear to hear."  Psalm 10:17

Faith is believing that God is at work when he "appears" to be standing afar off, determinedly counting on Him when He is hidden and I am in trouble.  When my feet are in miry clay and every step is a major effort, when I'm hemmed in by circumstances and life is a horrible pit then faith has its greatest opportunity to shine.  Perhaps like Job you have lived a righteous life and don't "deserve" to suffer like you are suffering, or maybe you are reaping the fruits of your own sin.  Either way you are on a stage and God, people around you, and angels both good and evil are watching to see whether your faith will prevail.  Will you trust God, though he leaves you in the pit a bit longer?  Will you continue to believe in His goodness though He leads you on a path through the mire and leaves you floundering without provision?  In Psalm 10 David felt that God was standing far off, hidden while he was in trouble.  But in verse 17 he states that the Lord has heard the desire of the humble.  He points out that God will prepare their heart and cause his ear to hear.  God is doing a work in our hearts during these times.  He is much more concerned with burning the dross off of our souls so we are pure gold than ensuring our temporary comfort.  If we humble ourselves, He will prepare our heart for both the trouble and for His coming answers.  He Listens (causes His ear to hear)!  and as Psalm 40:1-4 testifies,  "I waited patiently for the LORD; and He inclined unto me and heard my cry.  He brought me up also out of a horrible pit, out of miry clay, and set my feet upon a rock and established my goings.  and he hath put a new song in my mouth, even praise unto our God.  Many shall see it, and fear, and shall trust in the Lord.  Blessed is that man that maketh the Lord his trust..."  Hang on, He is listening and He will set your feet on solid ground again and establish your goings, giving you a new praise song to the LORD and bringing much glory to Himself through your life.  Truly, blessed is that man that maketh the Lord his trust.

Painting of  Pilgrim by Thomas Cole