When distress is near, you need God to be nearer still. This was David’s desire in Psalm 22:11, where he prays: “Be not far from me, for trouble is near.” Notice the parallel: the “trouble” (the Hebrew word can mean “distress”) is near, so he also needs God to be near! He asks Him not to be aloof or distant.
Many people have had the experience during their trials of having “friends” who DO stand aloof and distant. At worst they are seeing how things turn out before they decide if they want to be aligned with you; and at best they just feel awkward and do not think they know what to say or do, so they stay away. But either way, the person in the trial can feel abandoned. This should challenge us in several ways:
1) We need to make sure that we are not that kind of friend. Be sure to draw even closer to your friends in their times of distress, that they will not feel abandoned.
2) We can thank God that He does not abandon us in our difficulties. He never leaves us or forsakes us.
3) If we FEEL, like David did in this Psalm, that God has “forsaken” us (“My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?” (:1) then we can know that there is a good reason for it. Jesus quoted this Psalm on the cross, as He was dying for our sins and fulfilling God’s kingdom purposes. If we have committed our lives to Him, but feel He has abandoned us, then we can know that, as in Jesus’ case, there is some ultimate purpose for it — either in growing our faith, or in furthering His kingdom. Because God’s commitment to His people is to be “very present help in time of trouble.” (Psalm 46:1) When trouble is near, our great Friend is even nearer!