Friday, July 13, 2007

A Kindred Spirit

Frank and I came across this lament on The Internet Monk's blog and reprint it here with his kind permission and our hope that his honest, heartfelt lament will minister to you as it did to us.


I Miss You

How long, O LORD?
Will you forget me forever?
How long will you hide your face from me?
How long must I take counsel in my soul
and have sorrow in my heart all the day?

—Psalm 13:1-2


I miss you God.

It’s like you’re not around.

I see your world. I’m with your people. I’m surrounded by books about you. I read about you and talk about you. I teach others about you.

But I miss you.

I believe you’re there. I believe the Bible. I believe in Jesus. I don’t doubt your existence at all.

I miss you.

You. Not your people, or songs about you or books about you. I miss you.

I don’t miss all the theology in the books, the blogs and the lectures. I don’t miss the points of all the sermons. Or the answers to questions.

I have all those. Far more than I need, to be honest. But when David says, “Why are you hiding from me?” I know exactly what he is talking about.

I’m missing you, God.

All of the activities that go on where you are talked about don’t bring you to me. Nothing that’s said or done in church fills this empty place.

When I pray, I feel like I’m talking, and that’s all. I don’t feel like I’m your child and you are there delighting in me. I feel you are far away.

It’s like you moved on and didn’t leave your address. It’s like we lived in the same house, but you’ve moved out without telling me where you went.

I cried out to you last night. Over and over. I want you to hear me. I don’t need to get your attention. I believe you’re close by. But I can’t see, sense or feel you. I feel alone. Like I am talking to myself.

I am starting to resent those who know you are close to them. Why am I different?

When I knew less, when I was considered young and ignorant, I felt you close to me. Then I grew up, and now I’m in the middle of life. It feels like I have lost you along the way. Somewhere in the crowd I let go of your hand, and now I’m alone. I’m calling out, but there is no answer.

There are people who will ridicule me for saying I want you. They will say I’m too interested in emotion. I don’t care what they say. This isn’t about my theology. My theology is as good as I can make it by all my efforts at study. No, this is about being able to stop and say “God is close to me. God delights in me. God is my friend, my father, my ever-present Abba.”

Where did you go? Why did you go away? Did my sins make you go away? Are you teaching me something? Are you taking away your presence so I will walk on, by faith, without you? Is this the “trough” C.S. Lewis wrote about? Will there ever be an explanation?

I’m weary of explanations and answers. I’m worn out with principles and illustrations. I’ve heard talking for what seems like an eternity and it doesn’t bring you closer to me.

When this happens, I hear voices telling me I shouldn’t need to feel you, and I shouldn’t even want to feel you. They will say I’m not reading and believing the verses. They will tell me I’m not trusting.

I may not be trusting you as I should. It’s harder and harder to trust you in this loneliness. It’s hard to turn away from this emptiness and tell myself you are real. I believe all of the right things in my mind, but my heart is aching to have you close to me again.

You’ve seen my tears. I don’t suppose they impress you. Maybe they are selfish, or sinful. I just don’t know anymore. Those tears are my way of saying I want you again. I want you in the way I experienced you before anyone said “He’s smart” or “He knows about God.”

I miss you so much.

Please come back to me. Please tell me what to do. Please.

Michael Spencer
The Internet Monk
July 12th, 2007

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

I try to feel God many times but instead i feel numb. I need to hear and feel Him.

You all are still on my mind. Would love to meet you.

Paula

Anonymous said...

Keep us posted with updates. We are still praying for you and the other families. God Bless you all.
Sheila

QQ said...

I am happy to see your new posts here. Yesterday I preached on Psalm 90:3-6. One of the families in the church just lost their father. They have 5 grown children. When I talked with them after the sermon, they shared their feelings. They said they were encouraged and held up because of how their mother handled it. While watching the peaceful face of their deceased father, their mother kept on telling them: "Children, remember this is the face that your dad passed away. Remember how peaceful he is, remember this."

Love to you, dear Carolyn and Dr. James.

Yours always,
Helen Qiu (professionalqiu@gmail.com)