Crossroads: Where is God?

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Psalm 22:1-15

Your Story

Talk to your family about a time when God felt far from you. What was the situation? What happened? Did you pray anyway? Did God respond?

My Story and the Bible Story

When I was a child, bad thunderstorms used to terrify me. The rain was okay, but I was very afraid of the thunder and the lightning. Thunderstorms that happened at night were always the worst. There was no way I could sleep during them, and so I waited, shaking in my bed, for the storm to pass. Sometimes I prayed that God would help me and then I felt better. But other times it seemed like God was very far away and I was on my own with the storm. Even though I knew in my head that God was there, to me God felt far away and I was afraid.

That’s something that happens to all of us. There are times when we feel abandoned by God, left during the times when we need Him the most. Even David, who the Bible says was the “man after God’s own heart,” felt that way sometimes.

Read Psalm 22:1-15. From The Message: “God, God . . . my God! Why did you dump me miles from nowhere? Doubled up with pain, I call to God all the day long. No answer. Nothing. I keep at it all night, tossing and turning. And you! Are you indifferent, above it all, leaning back on the cushions of Israel’s praise? We know you were there for our parents: they cried for your help and you gave it; they trusted and lived a good life. And here I am, a nothing—an earthworm, something to step on, to squash. Everyone pokes fun at me; they make faces at me, they shake their heads: “Let’s see how God handles this one; since God likes him so much, let him help him!” And to think you were midwife at my birth, setting me at my mother’s breasts! When I left the womb you cradled me; since the moment of birth you’ve been my God. Then you moved far away and trouble moved in next door. I need a neighbor. Herds of bulls come at me, the raging bulls stampede, horns lowered, nostrils flaring, like a herd of buffalo on the move. I’m a bucket kicked over and spilled, every joint in my body has been pulled apart. My heart is a blob of melted wax in my gut. I’m dry as a bone, my tongue black and swollen. They have laid me out for burial in the dirt.”

In the psalm, David feels completely abandoned by God, dumped far away from Him while God reclines elsewhere. Others are making fun of him and destroying him while God does nothing. Sometimes we feel that way too. Maybe someone is bullying you and you feel like God should rescue you but nothing happens. Or maybe someone has cancer and you pray and pray for that person but they don’t seem to get any better. Sometimes God feels very far away and it seems like He doesn’t care what happens to us. But God does care and He is never far from us. Later on in this same psalm David prays that God will come quickly to help him, and he reminds the people that God doesn’t ignore them. God hasn’t turned His face from them and He listens to their cries. Thousands of years after David wrote this, the same is true for us. God doesn’t turn His face from us. God listens to our cries. He doesn’t ignore us. If God feels far away, it is because we aren’t looking hard enough for Him. God is there. God always hears us and never ignores us. Sometimes God’s answer to our prayers is no or not yet, but He always answers our cries. When you feel far from God, rest assured that God is not far from you. Praise God that He is always there!

Discussion

• Ask your children if there have been times in their lives when it seemed like God wasn’t there. How did they feel? What happened?
• Read this poem by Mary Stevenson together:

One night I dreamed a dream.
As I was walking along the beach with my Lord.
Across the dark sky flashed scenes from my life.
For each scene, I noticed two sets of footprints in the sand,
One belonging to me and one to my Lord.
After the last scene of my life flashed before me,
I looked back at the footprints in the sand.
I noticed that at many times along the path of my life,
especially at the very lowest and saddest times,
there was only one set of footprints.
This really troubled me, so I asked the Lord about it.
“Lord, you said once I decided to follow you,
You’d walk with me all the way.
But I noticed that during the saddest and most troublesome times of my life,
there was only one set of footprints.
I don’t understand why, when I needed You the most, You would leave me.”
He whispered, “My precious child, I love you and will never leave you
Never, ever, during your trials and testings.
When you saw only one set of footprints,
It was then that I carried you.”

Prayer

Thank God that He is always there with us. Ask Him to remind you of that when He feels far away.

Jessica Asbell is currently serving as the Minister to Children at First Baptist Church of Roswell, GA. She has worked with children in various capacities at several churches, including Winter Park Baptist in Wilmington, NC, First Baptist of Decatur, GA, and Highland Hills Baptist in Macon, GA. She has a Master of Divinity from McAfee School of Theology and a BBA from Mercer University. In her spare time she loves to read, watch movies, and of course spend time with her sweet kitty, Lucy.

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