Psalm 88 provides an outline of how to handle times in our life when God seems and feels far away.
It starts with a statement of faith. Verse 1 “O Lord ,God of my salvation”. It states first of all what is true about God and what we must always believe and hold onto. That God’s heart is to deliver us, saves us, prosper us, do us good and make us safe and set us free. It must always be within that boundary of belief and faith that we express ourselves further, always holding onto those undergirding, foundational truths.
Within that boundary of belief the psalmist writes with raw honesty about what he is feeling and experiencing. He talks of his soul being full of troubles and being close to death ( v 3), of feeling and being weak ( v 4), of feeling low and being in darkness ( v 6), and of being abandoned, lonely and isolated ( v 8).
He also asks hard questions of God, to which we are not given specific answers. Lord why do You cast off my soul ? Why do You hide Your face from me ? ( verse 14) .
So when God seems far away, start with faith. Make a choice to maintain faith, the belief that God is always good, always wants to do us good and is always our source of security and safety.
From that position of faith we can be honest with God about how we feel, what we’re experiencing and we can ask hard questions that may have no answers at the time, not to say they will necessarily never be answered.
So in tough times…..maintain faith, and honesty & questions are okay.