For years now, I have questioned God's silence towards me in a specific place of pain. Wondering why it has felt like He isn't there or that He doesn't care. This personal thorn in my own flesh has been the root of much anger directed at Him. And anger, as in any relationship, causes a rift. I want to love God with my whole heart, but I won't give it all to Him. I have withheld the very part from Him that He seems to withhold His presence.
My attitude has been: Why love you in this place, if you're not in it with me?
All of my life it seems, I have heard God's voice. I hear His leading, His convicting, His prompting. He is there when I pray or read His word or reach out to Him when I'm in need of comfort or peace. He has wooed me to His heart and in turn has won my own. But this place of hurt feels as though it has been untouched by His hands. So naturally, I've accused Him of being careless and unloving.
I have concluded that if God doesn't fix me here it must mean something. It must mean that I'm doing something wrong, or maybe He is working on another part of me that has to be fixed before we can move on to this thing. It's been hard not to wonder if it is because I'm not enough. Not Godly enough, not serving enough, not seeking enough. Or maybe I've just missed something entirely about my faith. Perhaps I haven't tried the right thing or prayed the right prayer or talked to the right therapist.
I've racked my brain. I've tried to figure it out. I've literally made lists and timelines and categorized my wounds on paper. I've dug furiously. I've sought help. I've desperately searched for a missing piece to my life-story puzzle wondering what exactly needs to click into place before I am able to find some kind of complete healing that will make me whole again. And in doing all of this, I have exhausted myself. The looking, the searching, the finding and trying and doing. Only becoming more frustrated with God and more tired and worn out in my anger.
Doesn't He heal and repair and restore? Isn't God's specialty making things new? Redeeming, restoring, re-doing the things in our lives that have been broken by our wounds?
Last week, I began to journal a familiar entry. God, where are you? Don't you hear me? Do you care? Why don't you speak to me here? Give me some answers! Do something! I wrote about His silence and what it felt like. I found myself curious.
What if His silence is my answer? What if He is silent on purpose? If I believe that God is good, and I do believe that He is, could I also believe that His silence is good and for my good? Could I believe that He has a purpose in it? What would happen if I trusted that His silence had a purpose? Is He really silent, or is He simply not speaking what I want Him to?
Sunday morning at church, we sang a familiar hymn.
Jesus paid it all. All to Him I owe, I sang.
I've sung these words a hundred times before, yet I was suddenly aware of where I believe and live out the belief that the God of the universe owes me something. The creator of the world, the Savior of my heart, Jesus who died for me, saved me and promised me eternal life - He owes me something. He owes me healing. He owes me His words. He owes me an explanation. He owes it to me to make things easier. He owes me the desires of my heart. He owes me and He should most definitely fix me.
Yet I sing, All to Him I owe....
If anyone is in debt, it appears to be me. Yet, He has never made me feel that way. Jesus tells us to ask and we shall receive. He says to seek and we will find, to knock and we will see the opened door. This Jesus that gave His life, that was the sacrifice for me and my sins and those committed against me - He gives and provides and does exceedingly above all that I can think or imagine. He didn't just save me. He is here. He is with me. He hasn't left me. Even when it feels like He is absent - He can't be. He promised He would never leave or forsake me. He may be silent, He may not give me the answers I'm hoping for, but He is in it.
If I live my life believing that God owes me nothing and has already given me everything - maybe I might not be so angry all the time. Maybe what's true is that He speaks different in places of pain and struggle. Maybe what's true is that if He is silent, He has a reason. Maybe I can make peace with God there.
Today, my heart is alive with sorrow and repentance, with tenderness and gratitude. After months and months of struggle and feeling winter's grip on my heart, I'm beginning to feel things thaw and crack.
Spring is coming for me. It's coming.