I wrote yesterday’s post rather late and asked for comments. If you are a regular reader (the three of you – ha!), would you mind reading about prayer and responding to my request? Thanks!
I endured the “dark night of the soul” a few years ago. I called it my “dusky evening.” Although God seemed to have taken leave of my life, there were moments I sensed He continued to work through me. It didn’t seem quite like a DARK night.
But it was bad enough.
I had enjoyed a sense of God’s strong presence in my life since I was 15 years old. And, poof, it was gone. I remember staring in panic at my husband asking if there was anyone listening to my prayers.
Had God hung up? No “Jesus calling” in my life!
How frightening to wonder if that upon which I had based most of my life and decisions – faith in Jesus – was just a mirage. I willed myself to remember how God had worked in my life, to recall the times He had clearly touched me, starting with the first time I heard – and understood – the Gospel.
Creation and the Cross helped. I had to admit this universe required a Creator. And if I was going to believe in a Creator, I’d pick the One who died for me.
But still, I didn’t often feel like God was there.
Five years ago, God finally showed up. In a big way. I am so grateful to once more sense His presence.
So, I totally related to Psalm 77 today. The Psalmist definitely feels abandoned by God. He cries aloud to God, seeks the Lord, but although he tries to remember what God has done, he moans, he faints.
He works to recall his “song in the night,” but wonders if God has spurned him forever. He asks about God:
Has his steadfast love forever ceased? Are his promises at an end for all time? Has God forgotten to be gracious? Has he in anger shut up his compassion? vs. 7-9
The Psalmist appeals again to the years of the Most High’s right hand (His work), with words like remember, ponder, and meditate.
Finally, after much work, the Psalmist begins to recall God’s holiness, wonders, redeeming arm – the rescue of Israel through the waters of the Red Sea. He sings about how God lead His people like little sheep to safety – by the hand of Moses and Aaron.
I did three things that helped me find God again. No, four. I worked at it. I was desparate:
- God showed me that I needed to repent of thinking He owed me anything or had given me a tough life because I didn’t deserve better;
- I started to mentor a friend who lived in the ‘hood;
- A friend and I led a women’s study of Philippians (amazing experience to teach the Bible while experiencing doubts); and
- I read the Bible through and blogged nightly.
Somehow those experience and activities helped me to remember the work of the Most High’s right hand. And God became real again.
What’s so amazing to me about the end of Psalm 77 and my own experience is that when God led Israel, “his footprints were unseen [or unknown].” (vs. 19) The people never saw God. They experienced his saving power when He worked through humans. So they knew He was there.
And he called them to remember what He did – though they never saw Him – any time their faith wavered.
My interactions with His word and mere humans helped me know God was there. I remembered His presence before I felt it. And graciously, he restored my faith though, even to this day, I have never seen His footprints.
Dear Jesus: Thanks for showing up again, for restoring that sense of Your presence. And thanks, too, that you were always there for me through the dark night. Thank you that if you ever disappear again, I can remember your works and believe, even if I don’t feel. Amen.