Why, O Lord, do you stand far away?
Why do you hide yourself in times of trouble?
2 In arrogance the wicked hotly pursue the poor;
let them be caught in the schemes that they have devised.
3 For the wicked boasts of the desires of his soul,
and the one greedy for gain curses[a] and renounces the Lord.
12 Arise, O Lord; O God, lift up your hand;
forget not the afflicted.
16 The Lord is king forever and ever;
the nations perish from his land.
17 O Lord, you hear the desire of the afflicted;
you will strengthen their heart; you will incline your ear
18 to do justice to the fatherless and the oppressed,
so that man who is of the earth may strike terror no more.
Where is God when life hurts? Where is God when things fall apart? Where is God when wicked people to terrible things to the weak, powerless, and unsuspecting? It is the cry of the ages. Where is God when bad things happen? In the moment of pain there it is often difficult to find answers to that question. We become overwhelmed and bewildered when we do not see God at work.
We expect God to take care of things, keep us safe, deal with those who seek to do harm to others. We know that God promises to care for the downtrodden, watch out for those who are afflicted, and even as this Psalm says, bring justice for the fatherless and the oppressed. The struggle comes in the distance between the acts of the wicked against the innocent and the time of God’s deliverance. It is in those times that David leans into the character of God. He knows that God has promised to act and that David must trust that the Lord who is king forever and ever will administer justice in due course. I must learn to trust in God’s timing and not my own. Wanting God to move according to my agenda and then being perplexed and even put out when He stays to His timeframe is a decided lack of trust on my part.
In addition to learning to trust God during the in between time of wickedness and God’s coming to the rescue of the oppressed, I need to ask myself if I am willing to stand in the gap for the oppressed and be God’s hands and feet in the care of the fatherless. Is it possible that God wants to show up through me? Is it possible that God’s answer for the innocent who it victimized is for me and you to strive for justice on their behalf? Is it possible that God’s answer to the fatherless and the outcast is to provide community for them, a safe place to be protected and loved?