Amidah: When God Steps Back
The Baal Shem Tov offered the following analogy: When a parent teaches his child to walk, he does so in the following manner. When the child walks two or three steps toward the parent, the parent moves back from the child, in order that the child should walk more. When the child walks a bit more, the parent withdraws still further, causing the child to walk yet more.
“You are God who hides Himself (Isaiah 45:15).” When a righteous person serves God, it may appear as if he is not on a level of perfection, and is still far away from God. God does this, however, and withdraws and hides Himself, so that the righteous person take further steps, and comes still closer to Him. (Kedushat Levi; Shemot)
Application: Imagine yourself as a child taking his first steps as you are taking your steps forward into the Amidah. Pause after each step, and picture God pulling away so that you have to step forward to Him. Approach the Amidah as if you are approaching a parent who is motivating you to propel yourself forward. This can be a metaphor for your entire service of God: Even when you feel that God is pulling away, He is motivating you to push yourself to achieve more and greater things.