“Why, Adonai, do you stand far away?” (10:1)
When I feel frightened and empty inside, sometimes I can identify the cause and address it. Perhaps I made a mistake and caused hurt feelings, so someone is angry with me. Perhaps I have a list of things that need to be done and just don’t know how I am going to finish everything. Perhaps there is something going on with one or more of my children – problems at school, tension at home, and that is causing the entire family to be distant and unhappy. Sometimes, though, for no identifiable reason I feel this tremendous disconnect between myself and everything else around me, as if I am floating off in space somewhere or living in a parallel universe only vaguely connected with the people around me.
Is it God who is standing far away? It’s easy to blame God and say ‘why have you moved so far away?’ It’s easy to see myself at the center of the universe, as if all existence consists only of that which takes place inside my head.
It’s a matter of perspective. I could just as easily say that God is not standing far from me; rather, I am standing far away from God! The problem is that when I look at the universe from the perspective of my head, the universe is severely distorted, like a Mercator projection of a map of the world. A goal of a religious life ought to be to see the world in a more expansive way – not from the limited perspective of a single human being or group of people, but from the widest possible lens of humanity.
Thus we can break the illusion of God standing far from me or me standing far from God.