Where is God?
Hear my prayer, O Lord;
let my cry come to you. Psalm 102:1
As I write this, more than one million Ukrainian families are fleeing their homeland and heading into Poland, Slovakia, and other western border countries. Not for the first time in history do the afflicted, destitute, and homeless ask: Where is God? Hope? Deliverance?
If Psalm 102 were a CNN report, the viewer would quickly turn to the Simpsons for relief. Then the psalmist, after a depressing litany of maladies, finds courage (verses 25-27) and exalts God: “You are the same, and your years have no end.”
These psalm verses are basically repeated in Hebrews 1:10-12. Nothing has changed, yet everything has changed. Jesus now has become exalted as God’s eternal son. This shows that our God isn’t “taking a nap” like the deity worshipped by the prophets of Baal, but rather is a living, present and eternal God — “immutable,” but not “immobile,” as Karl Barth says.
The psalmist, like the Ukrainian refugees, is faint, hungry, alone and fearful; enemies surround them both. Yet God “will regard the prayers of the destitute.” The Black theologian Howard Thurman (Jesus and the Disinherited) tells of wanting to see the spectacular 1910 version of Halley’s Comet as a boy in Florida. Thurman’s mother resisted at first, but finally took him to the backyard on a clear night to see the comet. Her hand rested on his shoulder as the comet’s “fan of light” streaked across the heavens. What will happen if the comet falls out of the sky? he asked.
“Nothing will happen,” his mother said. “God will take care of us.”
Merciful and eternal God, hear the prayers of those who are homeless, destitute, afflicted, and imprisoned both in body and spirit. We know that only your light and love have the power to overcome the darkness of these days. Amen