"I talk to God but the sky is empty."
Sometimes life just doesn't make sense.
Like when you finally reach a stage in life when you and your spouse can fly the coop and enjoy time just the two of you...then divorce papers are filed, or an illness strikes or you are left alone at a graveside without a chance to say goodbye.
Or when the child you have loved and nurtured turns against you, or turns to alcohol or drugs, or disappears without a trace.
Recently I've been talking to God about my second-born son. He has been struggling, too, but, not with anger or alcohol issues. He is my high achiever. He graduated from his college and master's degree programs with a 4.0. He is incredibly diligent, meticulous, and detail-oriented, and if given a chance, would make a phenomenal employee. But, for two years he has struggled to land a job in his field. He has worked as a janitor, in an amp shop and with a professor to make ends meet.
After two years of beseeching the heavens, I told my hubby the other day that I feel as if my prayers have been bouncing off the ceiling.
And I know that I'm not the only one to question where God is when our cries for help go unanswered. I'm not the only one who wonders why He leaves us lingering so long.
After reading Luke 7:19 and 20 recently, I got the sense that was exactly how John the Baptist felt when he found himself languishing behind prison bars. And who could blame him? He was, after all, the prophetic "voice calling in the wilderness," that Isaiah, long years back, had talked about (40:3). Now, he had no voice at all. As days passed into weeks, then into months, then into a year or more, he began to question. Question his calling. Question if he'd heard God right. Question if Jesus was...well, read it for yourself, "Are you the one we heard was coming, or should we wait for someone else?"
When life's difficulties seem to drag on and on, it can do a number on us. Our minds whirl, our stomachs churn, our bodies toss restless in our beds. And when our prayers seem to go unanswered, we question. We question God's goodness. Question his ability to work on our behalf. Question whether we should be looking elsewhere for answers.
I brought this burden of mine for my son to my spiritual director. She is a beautiful, gentle woman of faith. I am forever grateful to God for her guidance.
She asked me to close my eyes and imagine myself smack dab in the middle of this seemingly impossible situation. After some time in silence she queried, "Where is God in the midst of these things?"
To be honest, I couldn't find Him anywhere. But, then a memory came to mind; a memory of my firstborn son, Erik, who was then four or five. He had pulled out our wedding album and was perusing it on the sofa. I decided to sit down beside him and look through it with him. When we got to the end, he had a strange look on his face.
He then opened the album back up again, this time scouring the pages feverishly. Not finding what he was looking for he asked, "Mom, why am I not in any of these pictures?" I chuckled and said, "Hon, you weren't in the pictures because you weren't born yet." He looked at me very seriously and said, "Oh yes I was! I was in the balcony; you just didn't see me!"
Those words...Oh yes I was! I was in the balcony; you just didn't see me...echoed in my heart.
That was it! That is where God is. Not in an actual balcony, of course, but, He is there...even when we cannot see him, even when there hasn't been an answer to our prayers in some time. God not only hears them, he is smack dab in the middle of all those circumstances. And that speaks peace into my soul while I wait!
"If Christ spent an anguished night in prayer, if He burst out from the Cross, 'My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?' then surely we are also permitted doubt. But we must move on. To choose doubt as a philosophy of life is akin to choosing immobility as a means of transportation."
Yann Martel, Life of Pi
At just the right time, I will respond to you.
In time you will see
that the greatest of gifts is to truly know me.
And though oft my answers seem terribly late,
my most precious answer of all is still…"Wait."
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