you can call it the black ages, a dark spell. for others like st. john the mystic it was entitled the “dark night of the soul”, we’re going through one of those right now. where God doesn’t seem to be anywhere. And the theological answers don’t seem to do much at all. not what your pastors promise they will do anyhow. God is everywhere. So, what does that do with this whole idea then? If that is true (and i believe it is), the why does a powerful king struggle with the same thing. I mean, this poet-king has people answer to him, has what he wants and needs at the flick of a finger…a simple word will destroy a city. Yet, David feels powerless. one of his most common phrases that pops up throughout the jewish poems is “lord, how long?” i feel like this now.
we have choices in this. i think the christianity that we have been served has really duped us of the reality of our choices when we travel the misty paths. Elijah, after one of his most victorious recorded encounters hears that Jezebel is after his head on a silver plate, and what does he do…he runs. He tucks tail and gets out of there like a bat out of hell, so to speak. Here is what is interesting…God, doesn’t stop him. God lets Elijah run. Let that sink in. And then after Elijah arrives at the cave of choice, God bakes him a couple cakes and tells him to get some rest. And then after all that, when God should be slamming Elijah for running away and not trusting him, God reminds him through silence that He is there with Him. Wow! Same with the prodigal son, the Father lets the son runaway to a faraway country (that means it was longer than a train ride) and doesn’t say a word about it when he reluctantly returns and isn’t really repentant. God throws the runaway son a party. How is that?! At times, we must run. Sometimes, when we “wait” on God he is waiting on us to run. I am not advocating sin, just a different way to look at running. Sometimes, we are invited to go through crap not because there is some ethereal message waiting for us on the otherside (sometimes there is), but because we can choose to learn something. We can discover. The more i research scripture, the more i find that the idea of rediscovery and being on a journey were ideas i can’t patent myself, they were God’s. Jesus tells us about this abundant life he offers to us, which lying deeply embedded in the language is this idea of life being a constant state of rediscovery. If we see life like this, it may not make the hard times feel good, but it can give us some steam to keep us moving. It can woo us back into a life where we see struggle as making us stronger and that we can gains something from anything if we look deep enough. How deep are you looking?
you come in after a long day at work and prop your feet up on the couch and grab the remote control and find yourself lost in an array of commercialism. commercials tend to make us think we need more. and as Sarah Mclachlan once said: “the more we take the less we become”…so, what if the opposite is just as true. the more we give away the more we become. not to quantify sacrifice here, there is something to be said about the power of discovering one’s self in the act of giving something away. we no longer can define ourselves by that set of things any longer, they no longer are ours. they become someone elses’. and we embark upon a journey of finding even more about who the Creator has meant us to be.
Consumerism has effected our prayer life. It makes us think we should receive answers now, not tomorrow or when they might be most applicable, but rather in the moment, we become dictators of our own divine provision and encounters with God. With this kind of thinking, we treat prayer as a way to get things, as a way to feel good about ourselves, as the next quick fix. We become addicts of prayer, but not to connect with God (what it was made for) but to find special incantations and words to “twist” the arm of God. We pray so fervently as if to almost say that God himself is worried about what the outcome might be. We have embraced a style of consumer prayer.
There is one good thing about consumer-vision that we can borrow, and that is to never be satisfied with just prayer. There is an old story in the style of a jewish parable told by Jesus about a persistent widow and afterwards he explains what it all means (this is very uncommon for Jesus to do). In the story the lady “nags” this king to help her. And she doesn’t stop until the king does something. And then comes the clencher, Christ goes on to say something quite special “and how much more”, you see Christ was creating a place where exaggeration became the point. He used hyperbole to invite us in to the reality that God answers that much more, and that we don’t have to “nag” God like the widow needed to the human king. So, then why doesn’t God answer all the time? There are a million books out on the topic of unanswered prayer. Feel free to dive into one of those. I personally have come to the conclusion that God is inviting me not to worry about it, that the reason why he chooses silence is because He would rather share time with me building upon the Romance i was made for. He just wants to be connected. I think this is where people like Enoch fit into this story…God wanted to be with Enoch so bad, He just took Him. You see, somewhere along the line Enoch became okay with silence. He embraced it, and as we learn from Elijah God himself isn’t just in the silence, He Himself is the silence. Learn to embrace the silence.