Sunday, June 29, 2014

for God's absence

I'm drowning in a sea of confusion, and God is so very silent.  I'm lost in a maze of perspectives, and God is in every path and in not a one all at the same time.  I'm disoriented and increasingly frantic and there's no one coming to my rescue.  I'm stuck in the slow sadness, the shattering silence, the sneaking suspicion that not all is as it appears.

I long for those idyllic days of Bible verses and Bible answers.  I long for simplicity and camaraderie.  I long for passionate outspokenness and for the euphoria of corporate worship.  Those days are gone, replaced by doubt, uncertainty, even cynicism and distrust.  I am not the person I once was.  She disappeared in the wide sea of liberal arts education and real life and was replaced by this monster, this girl who cannot accept a single thing you say without scrutiny, by this girl who will always choose questions over answers, by this girl consumed by the "what ifs?"

I've isolated myself in this new life of mine.  I've told myself I'm not worthy of leading Bible studies, not fit to mentor others.  I've remained silent when I should have spoken, I've edited myself to the point of feeling somehow swindled into a new opinion I never held, I've cried.

I cried this morning in church.  It wasn't a euphoric crying.  It was a cry of despair.

God, you're so absent.  I need you to figure this mess out for me.  How do you work in the world?  Where are you?  What would you have from me?  How should I follow You?  

The people who attend my church view the world so differently than me.  It's so nice in some ways, iron sharpening iron or whatever.  In other ways, it threatens to drive me over the brink of insanity.  In a world where Scripture answers every question we could have about the world, there is no room for doubt.  There is no room for questioning the entire framework.

There is no room for me.

I'm struggling to breathe, struggling to find space to occupy in this reality of mine, this reality where life is full of questions, where the Bible tells us about God and how He works in this world.  I am struggling to hang onto my faith in an environment which constantly shouts at me that there is only one way.  I'm struggling to have faith in a seemingly absent God among a people for whom God is consistently and tangibly present.

I remember those days.  I remember a time when faith was simple, when I had a Bible verse for everything, a rebuttal for every objection.  I remember the childlike joy I found in being in His presence.  Those days were good.

I long for those days, even as I know those days are over for me.

I'm stumbling along, trying to find my way.  I won't be finding it, at least not more than the next pace or two.  But I know the One who leads me, and at the end of each long day, that will be the hope to which I cling.

I believe in God,
the Father almighty,
Creator of heaven and earth,
and in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord,
who was conceived by the Holy Spirit,
born of the Virgin Mary,
suffered under Pontius Pilate,
was crucified, died and was buried;
he descended into hell;
on the third day he rose again from the dead;
he ascended into heaven,
and is seated at the right hand of God the Father almighty;
from there he will come to judge the living and the dead.
I believe in the Holy Spirit,
the holy catholic Church,
the communion of saints,
the forgiveness of sins,
the resurrection of the body,
and life everlasting. Amen.