When You Need A Little Comfort But God Seems Distant

I’m feeling overwhelmed and a bit raw this November. I’m so out of sorts with my schedule that I didn’t even realize that our Thanksgiving holiday is next week! My fourth son was born just a few weeks ago and so, of course, I’m still adjusting to having a newborn in my life again. It’s the very best of times, but oh so sweetly all consuming!

But this time, leading up to my delivery, it was especially different.

Quade was born during a brutal presidential campaign. At a time when I was excited about the amazing gift of this new son, full of hope for the blessing of his life, it seemed that the world was tearing itself apart. The ugliness of people, and not just any people—my friends and acquaintances on social media--made my heart plummet. It made me wonder what kind of world my kids were growing up in and what they would have to face over their lifetime if we continue to be a nation without values.

This morning, I read from my One Year Bible in the book of Zechariah. The prophet Zechariah was being used by God to give hope to God’s people, declaring their future deliverance through the Messiah.

In chapter one, an angel of the Lord takes a sweeping look at the suffering of Israel in captivity and questions God:

‘Then the angel of the Lord said, “Lord Almighty, how long will you withhold mercy from Jerusalem and from the towns of Judah, which you have been angry with these seventy years?”  (Zechariah 1:12)

Take a look at God’s response:

“So the Lord spoke kind and comforting words to the angel who talked with me.” (Zechariah 1:13)

It’s apparent from the Lord’s response that the tone of the angel’s question was one of distress and great concern for the people. God answers with kindness. With comforting words.

It’s not just this time of year that makes me feel a bit down in the dumps. In my own life, I have been asking my own “How long Lord?” questions.

How long will it take to……

When will he/she finally…….

How much longer can I possibly……

What if this never changes and…….

I was sure that if I…..then You would…..

Often, when we ask these kinds of questions, I feel like our prayers bounce off the ceiling and that God doesn’t seem to be listening. It’s passages like these from Zechariah, nestled in the Old Testament, that prove me wrong. The Lord doesn't just care for the angels. He is not distant. He is near and full of compassion. We can approach the throne of grace with boldness in all our distress and with all our questions.

God isn’t just listening. He is speaking words of kindness and comfort to us too.

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YOUR TURN: Does this portion from Zechariah bring you comfort? Are you going through a circumstance where you need to know that God is listening to your prayers and responds with comfort and kindness? How can we pray for you?