Where can I go and meet with God? (v. 2, NIV).
Has anyone seen God? Not those images of the Divine that we hang in our churches. Not the sculptures of angels we put in our gardens. Not the long-bearded old man we have in our minds. You know the one who lives in the sky? Not that one either.
The psalmist is thirsty and needs to be filled with the presence of the Holy. The writer asks for the living water, not a stale substitute. Desiring to drink up, the poet finds nothing in the cup. It seems that God is missing.
Or perhaps, the problem is some sort of scheduling conflict. Maybe the poet is disoriented due to dehydration, crying out, When shall I come and behold the face of God? (v. 2). But there is no answer.
In a spiritually dry place, all the psalmist has for food are tears. Crying for breakfast. Crying for lunch. Crying for dinner. His neighbors only make matters worse, asking the same question while offering no answer as to where God is.
The psalmist knows exactly what he needs but he cannot find this God anywhere. How hard it must be to run out of memory, out of any refreshing thought. This desperate, panting poet needs a new encounter with God.
“God! God? I need the living God.” Only his grief sustains him.
Being lost and longing are difficult conditions for any relationship but especially one with God. The psalmist puts the search to music, though it may be hard to sing. It is no less comforting to know that when we feel that God is absent, someone else has been there.
What do I say when I don’t see God?
Omnipresent God, teach us to sing even when we mark you absent. Amen.