I struggled with this all through my teen years. I begged God to answer, but always felt like He was hiding His face from me. I would pray, but wondered if He was even listening to me? I felt like David did in Psalms 13:1 when he wrote, "How long wilt thou forget me, O LORD? for ever? how long wilt though hide thy face from me?" In Psalms 69:17 he wrote, "And hide not Thy face from thy servant; for I am in trouble: hear me speedily." Over and over again David cried out to God, begging Him not to hide His face from him. He felt overwhelmed by life's circumstances and wondered why God was not stopping the pain and helplessness that seemed to be crushing him. Would David ever get the answer and help he was looking for? Would I?
Finally, during the years I was 18-20, I connected with a gal whom I will call Surie. She was that answer to prayer during the end of my teens. (God has answered my prayer in many different forms of friends over the years - more on that later too.) She married young and lived on a farm a mile up the road from us. Her home was surrounded by beautiful farmland, with lots of rolling hills and forests, stone walls, and maple lines hooked up to the trees for spring sugaring. I loved going up to visit, but one of my favorite places to go was up the giant hill behind her house. It was quite a hike to get to the top, through wet, slurpy mud in the spring, and cow manure in the summer. Once I reached the open field, surrounded by a wall of trees, I could see for miles into the hills of Vermont. It was such a breathtaking sight to behold (especially in Autumn!) and it brought me such joy and peace. I always felt close to my Lord and Creator when I sat on one of the rocks at the top and stared out at the view.
It was while I was soaking in the Vermont countryside that I poured my heart out to the Lord. Seeing that I was so much closer to heaven, I felt like maybe He would hear my prayers better this way and the feelings of doubt and anxiousness would go away. The tears always flowed freely down my face. I was not afraid of anyone seeing me cry up there. I was too far from the world of people and nobody would be out taking a stroll through the woods. I must be honest though - I did not always get the answer I wanted up on that hill. But, God always met me there and gave me a peace inside my heart that helped me feel like I could continue on. Sometimes He put a song in my heart to encourage me and build me up. It would ring in my head for days after that mountaintop visit.
Yet, one thing He always assured me of was the fact that He was always there - it may have seemed like He was hiding His face, but in reality, it was just the clouds of my circumstances that were blocking my view from seeing the guidance of the Son. As His child, He won't ever leave us alone. He was, and still is, the greatest Friend a person could ever want.
Even as an adult woman I still go through these times of despair. I had a similar feeling the other day as I was running around getting errands done. I felt so alone and numb, like a robot set on auto pilot. I had a yearning inside my heart to go back to that mountaintop and get close to the Lord again. But something weird happened to me that day...I came out of the store with my bag of purchases hanging on my arm and approached my car. For a brief second, I thought I saw the profile of a man sitting in my passenger seat. My heart skipped a beat. Was someone in my car? Was I in danger? I glanced in the window and nobody else was inside. I checked the back too, but it was empty. With a relieved spine tingling shake, I got in and shut the door. Then a voice in my heart said, "Daughter, I am here with you. Just talk to me." And I did. I talked to the Lord as if I could see Him sitting there in that seat and my heart got that same peace I did on that mountain. We don't need a mountain to get close. He is our best Friend. Simply talk to him.