Why, Lord, do you stand far off?
Why do you hide yourself in times of trouble? (Psalm 10:1)
When people in a psychiatric unit find out one of their own is a pastor, their behavior tends to change. Some clean up their language a good bit while others go out of their way to say something shocking. Some try to trip you up with trivial theological minutia while others seek you out as a spiritual guru.
I’ll never forget the reception I once received from a young man named Daniel when he found out I was a pastor. Daniel had spiky hair and tattoos that covered his body. He came right up to me and said,
“Where is he?”
“Where is who?” I asked.
“God. Where is God?”
I paused and tried to determine if he was serious. He must have read my thoughts.
“I’m not trying to be a smart aleck. I really want to know. Is God somewhere in your life?”
Daniel then looked at me intently as I shared how God was with my wife when she found my body on the floor—dead weight from my attempted overdose. And with the psychiatrist who coached her through my admission to the hospital. And the therapists and even other patients like him who were helping me get back on my feet and feel like living again.
“Thanks,” he said, “I knew He was out there somewhere.”