Sunday, January 17, 2016

GOD'S ABSENCE


“God is not speaking to me . . . “
“I haven’t heard from God in so long . .  .”
“God is silent now and has been for . . . “
“For five years we endured God’s silence . . . “

I don’t understand these sentences and believe they come from either the innate narcissism of modern evangelical theology and practice or wrong expectations of God, or both.

There is enough in the Bible and history and our own experience to know God works and is working, so lack of immediate evidence does not seem like much of an argument.

But maybe I am just unsympathetic, unempathetic. 

We are told that God knows every detail of our lives, the He loves us supremely, that He is sovereign.  Why, if these are true, would we need to “feel” His presence?  Lack of feeling means there is something wrong with me, not God.  Lack of internal sensory input does not change reality. 

Perhaps these people (who like to get on Christian radio and write books) are just pointing out that we go through periods of fatigue, isolation, semi- or real depression.  I myself feel an ennui about certain things right now, mostly major writing projects, which take so much out of me with little reward.  These are part of the human condition.  But what if they go on for years?

Is this feeling of God’s silence based in unanswered prayer?  Prayer is supposed to work, and sometimes it doesn’t, so does that mean God is silent?  Maybe God is only silent about that one thing, and not others. 

Do we think God abandons us emotionally?  Wouldn’t that make God sadistic?  Do we think God is actually cruel?  So many are suffering great privation and injury who might have an excuse to feel abandoned by God (certain Pastor Saaied did), so do we have a right to feel emotionally abandoned by God because of some of the things we do feel abandonment over? 

God is not cruel, but I do not understand why some people suffer so. 

Instead of wallowing in a sense of being abandoned by a God who seems to have chosen to be silent to your personally (which seems like a childish way of thinking about God when put that way), two thoughts.

1.     Act. Do something.  Obey in what you know to do.  Stop overthinking it and see who needs more than you do.
2.     His grace is sufficient.

Have I ever felt this way?  Of course, although I will not discuss it here.  But I didn’t say God was silent.  I took responsibility for my choices.  Victimization attitudes will get you nowhere.  But this is the value of reflection—I start by questioning others and realize I should question myself and readjust my attitude.  In the end, the Word of God is there to confirm He is not silent; we just have to fine-tune our receiving equipment.

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