Times of Distance
Friendships are often tested by separation and silence; you are divided by physical distance or you are unable to talk. In your friendship with God, you won't always feel close to him. Philip Yancey has wisely noted, "Any relationship involves times of closeness and times of distance, and in a relationship with God, no matter how intimate, the pendulum will swing from one side to the other." (Reaching for the Invisible God; Zondervan) To mature your friendship, God will test it with periods of time when it feels as if he has abandoned or forgotten you. St. John of the Cross referred to these days of spiritual dryness, doubt, and estrangement from God as "the dark night of the soul." David probably had the closest friendship with God of anyone. God took pleasure in calling him "a man after my own heart." (1 Samuel 13:14) Yet David frequently complained of God's apparent absence: "Lord, why are you standing aloof and far away? Why do you hide when I need you the most?" (Psalm 10:1 LB) "Why have you forsaken me? Why do you remain so distant? Why do you ignore my cries for help?" (Psalm 22:1 NLT) "Why have you abandoned me?" (Psalm 43:2 TEV) Of course, God hadn't really left David, and he doesn't leave you.