We can use this Psalm the same way that God's people have used it for centuries, praying its truths into our hearts and lives here and now. You might not be experiencing suffering right now in your life, but if you look at our world, I think you will agree that there are many people who, given their circumstances could very well wonder if God had abandoned them. We can pray the opening verses on their behalf, on behalf of the broken world. Those verses have been coursing through my heart and mind these past two weeks as I have looked around our city, watching the suffering of the homeless and of people in our church who have lost loved ones and who have lost jobs. Cancer continues to attack, death seems to be winning, and friends of mine are struggling to have hope and peace, struggling to engage God in the midst of pain.
Thursday of this week was a day that just pounded on my soul. Not for what was happening to me directly but for what was happening to people around me, near me, in my life. The day seemed marked by desperate situations, brokenness, confusion. It was cold and rainy, and the problems that kept coming in on my cell phone and to the door of the church were larger than I could fix and more painful than I could bear. And the question, "where are you, Lord?" seemed to repeat over and over in my head.
Whether you are going through the suffering or praying for someone else, we can cry out to God, asking where He is. As I studied this passage with some InterVarsity colleagues recently, one of my co-staff began to weep as she read the Psalm aloud, remembering the sufferings in her life and in the lives of those she loves.