On Wandering/When God is Silent
Wandering in the wilderness. Do you know the story? The Promised Land was right in front of them, but those that went out to spy out the land decided that they could not take on those that inhabited the land. Nevertheless, the Children of Israel because of their lack of faith were destined to wander in the wilderness for 40 years.
I have read the story many times and I never really understood their hardship, what wandering was like, what it really meant to wander….aimless, no direction, no sense of what tomorrow would not bring, no understanding of a future, day in and day out the same scenery. I’m sure that the Children of Israel were murmuring “Where are we going?” “What is the value of life without purpose?” “Why” “How much longer in this desert?” “What is the way out?” “We have no hope.” “We are just surviving for no reason.” Have you ever wandered aimlessly? Have you ever wondered what am I here for if I’m just wandering?
I’m sure that I’m not the only one over the years reading this story that didn’t think twice about this kind of misery. You know? Wandering without direction. It couldn’t be that bad. 40 years without purpose, without a future, without a sense of meaning for one’s life. There would be no end game, no purpose, just getting through one day after another. How bad could that really be? If this wandering was to produce character or faith or love for their God did it? But for the Children of Israel, there would be no end for they were to wander and die in the wilderness.
I’m sure that many wandering walked daily with shame and guilt. I’m sure that many wandered with a deep loathing of their plight. I’m sure that many wandering must have wondered “even if I trust in God this lack of direction is meaningless.” I would even go so far as to say that many must have thought “If I am going to wander for 40 years and die here, I don’t want to go on like this, let’s get this over with.” Ultimately the issue for the Children of Israel was HOPE. What could they actually hope in? There was no hope of ever getting out of the desert. Wandering without hope of a future had to have been the ultimate pain.
I never thought much about what it would be like to wander. I have never had to wander. It has seemed for me that Who God made me, the passions that God gave me, the gifts I was given gave me direction, gave me purpose…. Until this past year.
A man and his work does have vital significance. Significance in daily purpose, daily work, weekly, monthly, yearly goals to achieve. Significance in finances to live, significance in answers to the “why” to one’s life. Now I know and I have heard those that would put down a person’s significance based on their work, but work is what we were made to do. Work does bring a high value to one’s life. Work does bring meaning to a day, to a week to a year. For in work comes pride, a sense of worth, a desire to accomplish, a way to meet financial needs like food, housing, physical issues and even some dreams. Without hope for a future, life becomes pretty meaningless. Oh I haven’t wandered in the wilderness for 40 years but I get the difficulty of wandering.
This last year of wandering has also led to a difficult experience that I will share on my blog. When God is silent, when my prayers seem unheard and unanswered the desert becomes even much more of a desolate place. When prayer for direction brings the lack of direction. When prayer for meaningfulness in this experience becomes meaninglessness, hope begins to diminish. And when hope begins to dissipate, as the light begins to dim, when God seems far far away, when God remains silent there are a few things that are bound to happen. Prayer becomes a matter of not wanting to be redundant… He knows where I am, what I feel, how I need Him, what’s the point? When God is silent, when prayer seems to bounce of the ceiling, crying out to God becomes a “why” or “what for?” When God is silent, when being alone is the better part of the day, when there is no direction, or call, when aimlessness is the norm, when dreams of a future go out to sea, and the darkness of the silence of God settles in… hopelessness becomes a reality.
I do know that I am not alone in this. I know there are many, many others that have gone through much worse. I get that. I know that. This year of wandering, unanswered prayer, guilt, shame, sorrow, and sadly betrayal has not honestly brought a “God is good” thing going on in my heart or my soul. This period has left me alone period. For those that know me well, you know I cannot fake it, I will not lie to make God look good, or me look good. God will do what He will do, and I will be authentic in how I see it.
I am honest enough to admit that through this i recognize that my faith is weak. Through this my ability to trust has diminished. If you read my previous blog you now know why I had to go back to RT 33. I don’t know what the future holds, but this I do know; that wandering is not what I wanted nor would I recommend it. Hopefully there is a good ending in the distance.