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Hello Darkness, My Old Friend

It’s always kind of jolting that moment when you realize you haven’t thought about God in a while. You can’t remember the last time you read your daily devotionals or opened your bible. You struggle to push back those old doctrinal traditions that once taught you to feel shame and guilt. You push them back like an old lover who you know isn’t good for you; just like shame and guilt, all they bring you is is feelings of inadequacy.

Rather, you opt for the certainty of a loving and merciful God. A God who knows that you really have been “really busy,” and you didn’t mean to be absent for so long. And like and old friend, God welcomes you back into a loving embrace without hesitation because that’s just the way God is. This Creator, Redeemer and Sustainer is one who is constantly with you, for you, in loving pursuit of you. When I reflect in this, I feel silly for my momentary feelings of guilt.

Yet, all the same the more I grow, the more I come to peace with the notion that it really is okay to admit how difficult it is to maintain and sustain a consistent relationship with God. I believe it is okay to admit that sometimes it’s easier to feel more connected with my husband who here tangibly with me, a person from whom I do not necessarily need to have faith in as a precursor for knowing. I know the love and commitment of my husband because I experienced and witnessed it so clearly day in and day out. On the reverse, witnessing and knowing God requires us to have faith so that we must know. It requires us to have faith that even when we cannot see, or we feel as if God is absent, God often with us in our wilderness experiences, in our silent moments. Isaiah experiences God is a similar fashion when he is fleeing for his life after the events at Mount Carmel. Throughout this journey through the wilderness Isaiah is alone, or rather he feels indescribable loneliness as he believes he is the only remaining faithful servant to God. He questions God in light of all he’s done; and after the trauma of what he has experienced even death seems to be the better option for him. And yet, God tells him to go to Mount Horeb, and there Isaiah awaits. It is here that Isaiah realizes he is not alone.

“Now there was a great wind, so strong that it was splitting mountains and breaking rocks in pieces before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind; and after the wind an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake; and after the earthquake a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire; and after the fire a sound of sheer silence.” (1 Kings 19: 11-12, NRSV).

Like Isaiah many of us demand and expect God to appear boldly in a great wind or in the violent shaking of the earth’s crust; yet, are we content when God comes near to us in the silence? Are we content with a God who does not need flashes of lighting or flocks of doves to announce God’s presence? In this I take comfort knowing that even when my commitment to God wavers, God’s commitment to me will never cease.

Today I challenge you to sit in the silence, close your eyes, breath; and reflect on moments in your past when you felt as Isaiah did — alone in the wilderness questioning God. How did God reveal God’s self to you? Was it in the sound of sheer silence?

 

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