What is a natural response to feeling like we are abandoned and out on our own? Isn't it to kind of drift into this "complaint" mode? Why is it we do this? Isn't it perhaps just because we feel a little "entitled" or like the world should just anticipate our needs and see to it that they are met? I think we drift into this "whining" mode quicker than we might realize mostly because we feel a little "entitled" as God's kids to not have to face the reality of bad stuff which is just part of living here on planet earth. We forget that we are still physically present in the midst of evil and there is no way to escape some of the stuff which is just part of still living "in the world". Instead of whining, we should be praising; instead of thinking God has rejected us or forgotten we exist, we should be celebrating his presence even when it isn't quite clear to us. Why? Simply put - God NEVER abandons his kids - no way, no how! His presence is not dependent upon our "feeling" it; his care is not dependent upon us seeing it; his attention is not dependent upon us - it is based upon who he is and what he does!
Why would you ever complain, O Jacob, or, whine, Israel, saying, “God has lost track of me. He doesn’t care what happens to me”? Don’t you know anything? Haven’t you been listening? God doesn’t come and go. God lasts. He’s Creator of all you can see or imagine. He doesn’t get tired out, doesn’t pause to catch his breath. And he knows everything, inside and out. He energizes those who get tired, gives fresh strength to dropouts. For even young people tire and drop out, young folk in their prime stumble and fall. But those who wait upon God get fresh strength. They spread their wings and soar like eagles, They run and don’t get tired, they walk and don’t lag behind. (Isaiah 40:31 MSG)
God doesn't lose track of his kids - although we may not sense his presence quite as vividly as we might like at times - his presence still indwells those who have made him Lord over their lives. Whenever we get into this place of feeling so low about our circumstances that we begin to whine and complain about the "misery of the moment", we probably have just lost this sense of "connection" with him. We live so much by our "senses" - what it is we feel, see, hear, can touch, etc. Whenever one of these senses is interrupted - such as not hearing his voice very clearly - we kind of freak out. Instead of realizing that God just doesn't "come and go", we think he has abandoned us in the midst of the present circumstances - and our immediate response is to whine or complain.
I like how the prophet Isaiah talks to the people of Israel who are experiencing this lack of connection with God. He is pretty straight forward with them, and this is often what we need - someone to just lay it out for us and show us how silly we are acting! As creator of all we can see or imagine in our finite minds, he is incapable of abandoning his creation. He is untiring in the attention he gives to every iota of detail which holds all of creation together, causing it to work in harmony, and this includes each of us. We might get tired out - weary in our journey - but he is incapable of tiring. He might get a little wearing of hearing us complain when we don't sense his presence as nearly as we'd like, but he isn't going to turn a deaf ear to us, or take his hand off of us.
The good news - God knows each of us inside and out. Nothing we do or say catches God off-guard. He understands our character and is not threatened, or put off by our complaints - he knows these are our natural responses to the things we are experiencing. In time, I know he desires us to turn our whining into praise, and our fear into trust. Right now, when we are experiencing this "vacant" feeling within, he knows we will respond in ways which reveal a lack of trust - his goal is to show us we can trust him to never leave or forsake us, even when we don't "feel" him there! We don't develop trust unless our faith is put to the test. When mom left the room when we were infants, we cried. We didn't need to learn this sense of "abandonment" thing - it came naturally to us. In time, we came to realize mom leaving us in the crib didn't mean she wouldn't return to remove us from its constraints. Guess what? God doesn't allow us to feel the constraints of the present problems to abandon us there! He never takes his eyes off of us - but he might just be stretching our faith a little so we come to a higher degree of trust in him.
If we are tired - we can reach out to him for strength. If we feel like throwing in the towel and just calling it quits - we can call out to him for new energies to go on in the midst of what seems like overwhelming odds against us. How? It comes in the waiting. You probably didn't want to hear that one, but it is scriptural! Waiting produces something within which would not be there otherwise. In waiting upon God - listening for his voice, trusting he will bring us through the circumstances - we are developing a sense of "confidence", not in our own strength or ability, but in that which he gives in the waiting. God isn't a "come and go" God - he is there even when we don't sense him. If we can come to realize this one character trait about God, we will go a long way in learning to trust even when we don't "feel" like it! Just sayin!