Jeremiah 2:5-6; and verse 8a (emphasis mine):
The passage addresses the idolatry of Israel's people even after they had been delivered from Egypt by God. Israel has strayed and hardships are happening, but the people aren't asking where God is. Instead, they are turning to idols and trying to solve the problems on their own.
The phrase "Where is God?" can be uttered with either anticipation or despair. I recently attended a women's retreat and played hooky from one of the sessions. I hiked up a hill with only my Bible--and not any Bible, but my old, big, actual paper and ink Bible--and a pen. No phone at all. Just me and God and my Bible sitting on an old bench under a tree.
That morning, God used the story of Bartimaeus, the blind beggar, recorded in Mark 10. Bartimaeus is sitting by the road and hears Jesus walking by. He cries out "Son of David, have mercy on me" repeatedly, annoying the people nearby. Jesus stops and asks him what the beggar wants Jesus to do for him. Bartimaeus replies, "Rabbi, let me recover my sight." Jesus immediately restores his sight.
I realized that for many months lately, I had been blind to the workings of the Lord. That morning, it was me who was crying out to God to have mercy on me and to restore my sight so that I could see Him at work. Instead of blindly going through life not seeing what God is doing, I wanted to see with my eyes of faith and believe that God is always present and active.
I believe that God has restored my spiritual sight. I have recognized God's hand and provision in big and small instances in the last few weeks. Even this morning, to hear God speak to me though my daily reading is a moment of seeing clearly. Today I ask "Where is God?" with anticipation as I search for His hand and touch in the world around me.
However, "Where is God?" is sometimes cried with despair and hopelessness. Job cries for the Lord this way. Hannah prayed this way when begging for a child. I have asked this when I can't see what God is doing and it feels like He's far away. From the words in Jeremiah, I think that God wants us to ask the question from either emotion. He just wants us to turn toward Him, whether we are blind and groping wildly or have our eyes open, seeking purposefully.
Jeremiah's words may have gone unheeded in his time, but I heard them loud and clear at the breakfast table this morning!