For the past 2 years I have been on what some would call a drift away from the presence of God. I think I have also wondered if I would categorise it like that. I’ve even questioned my faith, what I’ve experienced and the reality of God himself.
For most of this time, I have experienced only what I can describe as a gradual breaking away from the ways in which I understood God, felt God, experienced God. In many ways I have felt numb and nonchalant.
Odd thing is that unlike other times when I have been riddled with discontentment, fear and guilt, I feel almost nothing. In fact, you could go as far as to say that I am in neutral and not really that concerned about being there.
Okay, so for those who are currently getting sweaty palms and having conniptions about my faith, please, don’t start flooding me with scriptures and prophetic words! I am fine! I’ve always been a questioner (you can ask my mother!) and have never been content with the status quo. This is nothing new.
What is new though, is the thought that perhaps when we talk about being in the desert seasons, we have an opportunity to look at it from a new point of view.
What if the desert season is in fact the season to learn contentment?
What if instead of feeling alone, abandoned and disillusioned, we have the opportunity to look at it from a different angle? Change the focus, and perhaps we change the outcome?
For the record, I have never had a time in my life where I have genuinely questioned the existence of God. And there have been times when I have run away, cut communication and severed ties. And there have been times when my heart is so pregnant with desire to know, feel and understand God, that I am unable to concentrate on any other pursuit.
Perhaps I’ve been to the sun and back then? I don’t know. Some folks contend that you can never be fully satisfied. What about Paul then? Didn’t he say that he’s learned to be content?
I know what it is to be in want, and I know what it is to have more than enough — in everything and in every way I have learned the secret of being full and being hungry, of having abundance and being in need.
I realise that some scholars may say that this is out of context, and that’s fine. I am not contending context here. I am just looking at one sentence uttered by a very wise man and wondering about the depth of that declaration.
‘I have learned the secret of being full and being hungry, of having abundance and being in need’. Is it possible that he’s not just talking about earthly treasures here? What if he’s also talking about spiritual satiation and hunger; spiritual abundance and need?
From where I stand today, I see this scripture in light of my current place in God and just wonder if this time of not being able to touch the sun is actually a time to learn how to be content with that. I see that there is a possibility that I may never touch the sun again – am I okay with that?
Do we know how to be okay with that? Do our Christian teachers mentor us on how to be content with not finding, and still seek? To be content with not seeing, and still believe?
I realise that this post is full of questions, but that is because I know I do not have all the answers. I am no scholar and can only write about what I have experienced and what I see in my own journey. And I am certainly not trying to pick a fight with any set ways of thinking.
I am merely opening up questions that I feel have a need to be answered.
Where do I stand right now? Well, I suppose what I feel right now is that if I have not ‘walked away’ from God (which, frankly is not possible, if you believe that he is omnipresent…just sayin…), and I am not rebelling as far as I am aware, then there must be something I am meant to be learning from all this.
I still pray.
I still seek.
I still worship.
But that intense desire that pushed me into deeper places just simply doesn’t seem to be around at the moment. I think this is often where we begin to think that the heavens are like brass and that for whatever reason, God is not speaking. But is that really true?
What if the heavens were not brass, and instead, this is a time to learn contentment?
What if we took that energy we tend to spend in running around in circles chasing the experience of God, and channeled it instead, into focussed, disciplined patience? Into trusting that when he says I will never leave you nor forsake you, he actually means it? Into being like Mary, and just sitting at his feet and listening?
What are your experiences? Do you have a point of view on what we’ve come to know as the desert season? How do you navigate these times?
I’d love to hear your thoughts. Go deep, I really don’t mind! In fact, let’s go deep together: perhaps we can unravel this quandary together and learn how to touch the sun from a distance.
Thanks for reading,