A few days ago, my son was crying, screaming really, for something. He was so upset by his lack of this thing that he was just yelling, "PweeEEEEEaseeee!!!" with giant tears rolling off his face and his cheeks turning all shades of red. Although I don't remember now what it was he wanted, I did know at the time. But I knew I couldn't reward him for his behavior by granting him this coveted item. So I kneeled down to his eye level and put my hands on his shoulders. I stroked his shoulders gently instructing him softly, "Sweetheart you need to calm down. Calm down and stop crying and tell Mommy what you need." As I watched Micah try to summon all the self-control in his two-year-old body so he could gain enough wherewithal to make his coveted request, the words of a very wise man came to my mind:
The time when there is nothing in your soul except a cry for help may be just the time when God can't give it; you are like the drowning man who can't be helped because he clutches and grabs. Perhaps your own reiterated cries deafen you to the voices you hoped to hear.
-C.S. Lewis, A Grief Observed
In that moment I saw it. I saw all the times I was begging so desperately to God and wondering why He seemed so quiet. Really, He was standing right in front of me, hands on my shaking shoulders, whispering quietly, "Calm down child. Calm down and talk to Me." But I couldn't hear for all of the noise I was making.
At the risk of oversimplifying a complex God and/or making it seem like if we just calm down and "ask nicely" God will give us everything we want, hear me say, neither of those are the case. But that picture - me melting down wondering where God is when all the while, He is there, just waiting for me - certainly there is truth in that. And maybe He is waiting patiently for me to calm down enough not only to make the request, but get to the point where I can allow His spirit to work in me to make the right request, the one that will actually work for the Kingdom.
If God seems far to you, please know He is not. He promises to never leave us and never forsake us. But, there is a chance He is waiting for our souls to quiet just enough to hear His still small voice.