looking for God

‘If I go forward, he is not there; or backward, I cannot perceive him; on the left he hides, and I cannot behold him; I turn to the right, but I cannot see him…” (Job)
“My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? Why are you so far from helping me from the words of my groaning?” (Ps 22)

THE LEAD character in the Book of Job and the voice of the Twenty Second Psalm are united in one thing, their sense of loneliness and abandonment by God in their hour of need. Of course, it is the opening phrase of Psalm 22 that the gospels of Matthew and Mark place on the lips of Jesus as he hangs on the cross, dying (“əlahí əlahí ləmáh šəvaqtáni?”).
If we are honest with ourselves, perhaps most of us can recognize moments of doubt and pain in our lives where such words well describe the way we felt. Have you called out from the night of your pain and wondered, is there really anyone listening? Does the universe really care? Similarly, in our prayer life, however disciplined we might be in making the spaces in our lives for prayer, probably more so in this case, there are times of dryness, when it might seem that God is hiding from us or has simply absented Godself from our lives. The harder we pray, the further away Christ seems to get. For some, this can be the end of the road as far as faith is concerned. For others it is really the beginning.
What should we do in the dryness? Pray more. Let the humility that comes with feeling abandoned teach us, seed us, nourish and re-birth us. The temptation is to pray less, stop even. But the dryness is a gift. God is closer than our own breath. In humility, we can seek God for God’s sake, let God be God. Be still. Be patient. As Brother Titus told some of us on Caldey Island a couple of weeks ago, “Just let it be”. Let it be and let the words of prayer dissolve into a wordless gazing, with awe and wonder, as God tills the soil of your soul for the harvest he will reap in you and through you. It will come soon.

~ by Fr Tim Ardouin on October 12, 2018.

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