Friday, August 26, 2016

Can God Disappear?

You feel as if God has disappeared from your life.  Years ago you would spend hours in prayer and service without any problems or concerns.  But now an incredible darkness has engulfed you.   You no longer can feel his presence.  You feel alone, abandoned and are beginning to doubt whether the past was just a dream.  Prayer now leaves you not with a sense of God’s presence, but with a sense of your own poverty and need.  Serving others once left you feeling joyful and full of hope, but now you are discouraged because of the brokenness of other people and it is difficult to find the motivation to keep going.

Where has God gone?  Is it possible for him to disappear? Perhaps the one who is disappearing is you; your childish ways of relating to God, yourself and other people, your inordinate desire for affirmation and consolation are becoming purified through a genuine encounter with the Living God.  Since God is no longer a “felt presence” in your life you are left wondering if God has disappeared. Let me assure you, it would be easier for the ocean to dry up than for God to disappear.
Every genuine encounter with God begins with a “honeymoon” stage but as we draw closer to him the honeymoon fades into the background, so that real love can begin to blossom independent of our feelings, emotions and life circumstances.  God, like love, is more than a feeling.  To mature and become the person God desires you to be, you cannot make judgments and conclusions entirely from your feelings and emotions.   
Maybe, like you said, you have hit a wall, but on the other side of that wall God is waiting for you.  In order to get there you have to leave your childish ways of thinking and judging behind you and trust that God’s grace is inviting you to something more.  What exactly is that “more?”  It is God himself; greater and more profound than you can fathom.  The most important thing is not to give up.  In other words keep praying, trusting, hoping, and believing.  Or in the words of St. Paul “press on…because Christ Jesus has made (you) his own" (Phil 3:12).

+ Fr. Jeremiah Shryock, CFR
Monticello, NY
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