Thursday, August 15, 2013

A Long Absence

Well, it's been a while. More than a year, in fact. But I wanted to post again because I feel like I left this blog stranded somehow, confused and waiting for answers. That's how I felt the last time I posted - confused, lonely, angry.

I'm not so angry anymore. The intense emotional energy that anger requires left me drained and gave way to a sort of numbness, a lethargy of emotion. Throughout my life, I believed that God required only the strongest of emotions from me - intense joy, wild worship, an unquenchable desire to know. But as I poured those energies out upon His altars, what met me was silence. I've been waiting on God for a long time, waiting and knocking and seeking. His silence is what I've come to know.

Silence is a difficult response to comprehend. Difficult, especially, since we are constantly promised that silence is not what God will meet us with. Knock and the door shall be opened to you. Seek and you shall find. Wait upon the Lord, and He will answer you. There is not much room in contemporary Christianity for those who knock and are met with no opening door, who seek through the long lonely nights and the interminable days, looking for what they don't know how to recognize, searching for what never appears. God has not been my rock, my fortress and my deliverer, my ever present help in times of trouble. Instead, He has been my times of trouble. He has been the thorn in my side. He has been my cross to bear.

Since I first began to feel God's silence pressing down on me, covering the sun, leaving the world in darkness, I have believed that it could not be a lasting thing. This silence is an interlude, a pause between movements when we wait in hushed silence for the next soaring notes to begin. But the new notes don't come - the conductor does not move his hand. I am growing accustomed to silence.

It may be that God will speak again. But the funny thing about silence is that it at once feels so terrifying, and yet familiar. The thought creeps in that this silence has been the background of my spiritual life from the beginning. Perhaps there has never been a Word spoken to me out of the darkness - that all my former life of easy faith and assured salvation was my own loud and joyful spirit resounding from the rocky caverns of the world and coming back to me as echoes that I mistook for the voice of God. The doubt creeps in - have I ever heard the still small voice? Have I ever felt the fluttering of the wings of the dove in my own heart? I don't now. And I don't know if I ever have.

I wish, simultaneously, that I could leave God and be done with Him and that I could find Him anew, that my faith would be greater than this silence and that I could live assured of Him. I wish that I could listen to the voice of plain reason that speaks words of terror and yet comfort - there is no God, the world has meaning only in what you make of it, that death is the great rest out of which no person returns. I wish that I could listen to the voice of comfort that speaks the faith that moves mountains. But this mountain of silence, of nothingness, has no handholds for my faith to grasp, no points of traction so that it can be cast aside. I have learned in this dark night of my soul that even faith is too hard a thing for me to bear alone - that I need a strong Hand to help me carry its weight. But no helping hand descends.

I wait in the silence.


  1. I hear you. And I've been where you are. The only thing I can say that might help is that it was important for me to learn to question, not just the assumptions behind Christianity, but the assumptions behind atheism too. For instance, the assumption that science is the arbiter of reality-- that the only way to know if something is real or not is if it can be proven using certain methods. Methods that I think are as inadequate for the purpose of determining spiritual truth, as a ruler is inadequate for measuring air pressure.

    I do think sometimes my very doubt shut my spirit off from being able to hear or feel God. When I began thinking more positively about the possibility of God, the silence ended. The silence, I think, wasn't because God wasn't there, but because I had shut my ears.

    This website helped me a lot-- it opened my mind to other ways of thinking about God besides the ways of evangelical fundamentalism.


  2. May you find peace and goodness, and may peace and goodness find you.