By Rev Alan Millar
Bette Midler sang the song, ‘From a distance, there is harmony And it echoes through the land It’s the voice of hope, it’s the voice of peace It’s the voice of every man From a distance we all have enough And no one is in need And there are no guns, no bombs, and no disease No hungry mouths to feed.’ And the chorus goes like this: ‘God is watching us, God is watching us, God is watching us from a distance.’
From a distance hungry children can’t be seen, nor the tear stained faces of parents of sick and dying children. We can’t hear their cries, or the cries of the widow and orphan, or the oppressed.
Bette Midler’s song suggests that God is somewhere far out in space watching man’s inhumanity to man - a world where war rages on every continent, where children die needlessly for want of food or water, where the refugee has lost all hope.
The song is right in one sense, God is watching us from a distance, but not a distance measured in light years or even thousands of miles out in space, but rather He is so close to us that if we could feel His breath it would wisp our hair.
Sometimes it might feel that God is far away, but in truth He really is so very close, which is especially comforting in times of deepest despair.
He is only a prayer away. He is always waiting for you to speak with Him. So if you were asked, just as the song goes, ‘How long has it been since you talked with the Lord and told Him your hearts hidden secrets?’, what would you say?
You don’t have to shout for God to hear you, just quietly from the deep canyons of your heart begin to speak to Him. Jesus told the parable of the Pharisee and sinner who both prayed in the temple, the Pharisee boasting of his piety so that all could hear him. The poor tax collector wouldn’t even lift his face to heaven but quietly prayed. ‘God be merciful to me a sinner.’ He whispered a prayer of repentance and God heard it. That is how close God is.
He truly is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Amen.