Psalm 10:1, 14 “Why, O Lord, do You stand far off? Why do You hide Yourself in times of trouble? . . . But You, O God, do see trouble and grief; You consider it to take it in hand. The victim commits himself to you; You are the helper of the fatherless.”
The gnawing raked my insides as the pressure of being late for work clashed with my concern over the lost puppy. I had gotten up early and let Cherokee and Emily’s puppy, Leila, outside to stretch their legs and have a morning run. That was only 30 minutes before and now Cherokee was resting quietly by the barn, but Leila was nowhere to be seen.
Emily rushed downstairs and we called and searched for her lost pet, but to no avail. The air was silent and there was no movement on the road or in the fields. I glanced at the clock and prayed, “Lord, please bring this prodigal back soon. I don’t have time for this.”
Emily jumped in her car and zoomed down the lane to search further when a thought came to me – Dad had put the garbage cans away in the chicken barn before leaving this morning. I dashed to the barn, flung open the door and out came Leila, licking and wagging.
Frantically I waved my arms and tried to catch Emily as she turned onto the road but she didn’t see me. Without realizing that Leila was right at home all the time Emily headed in the other direction to continue the search.
This experience got me thinking about all the times we search for something that is right under our noses. I am notorious for the time when I was demanding to know who had taken the peanut butter jar, only to have one of you point out that I was holding it in my left hand. Sheesh!
So often when trouble comes into our lives we search and search for something or someone to help us but can’t seem to find what we are looking for?
Some run to friends . . . and then get frustrated when they don’t get answers.
Some run to food . . . and then become despondent when they feel sick or gain weight.
Some run to pleasure . . . and then become angry when it doesn’t satisfy.
Some run to alcohol or drugs . . . and then become depressed when they need more and more to dull the pain.
While we are frantically searching for a remedy for our struggles, God is right there. He sees all our trouble and grief and desires to be our source of strength and help. He never leaves us alone, but the pain of the trial often blinds us to His presence.
The Psalmist thought that God was hiding from him. That’s how it sometimes felt in his time of need. The wicked ones who had no room for God were prospering, and the enemy who was making his life miserable was happy and boastful. The lies and threats spewed at him filled his mind with such fear that for a brief instant he forgot Who God was, the unchangeableness of His character, and the extent of His love. He searched and searched for answers but couldn’t find any!
But suddenly a thought dawned on him. He remembered that God was near and that He always heard the cry of His children. His thought processes shifted as he called for God to come and help. He said, “But You, O God, do see trouble and grief; You consider it to take it in hand. The victim commits himself to you; You are the helper of the fatherless.”
If only we could keep our perspective right, we wouldn’t panic when disaster strikes. We wouldn’t wonder, “Where is God?” or frantically search in all the wrong places. We, like the Psalmist, would remember that our Help is closer than we thought. In fact, He is right there all the time, longing to comfort and encourage us. At the proper moment He will step in and make all things right.
I finally got Emily on the cell and she turned around and came home. Leila greeted her with doggy kisses, completely unaware of all the frantic searching and worrying we had done. I sighed as I grabbed my workbag and hustled to the car. What a waste of time!
As I drove down the lane, I determined that the next time a difficult experience came my way I was not going to spin my wheels searching for answers, but immediately turn to my ever-present God.
And the next time I can’t find one of the dogs, I’m going to make a beeline for the chicken barn.