Letting Ourselves Sense the Creator's Presence
Seasons are seasons; they are temporary and will eventually come to an end. Yes, even the good ones. But that is the beauty and malleability of life. It changes, and constantly teaches us with its new chapters, windows and doors.
Some of you may be experiencing Spring, a time of rejuvenation, refreshment and joy. Where fighting for joy isn’t really a reality, the fight comes with ease, and God’s presence just welcomes you each day without you even really doing much — such grace. Where gifts and thankfulness are found in the smallest of things. Drink in this season, and let it take up residence in your heart, because it’s these seasons we must revisit and bring to remembrance when the night comes.
And though the good seasons come to an end for a time, so do the seasons of struggle, sorrow and tears. Perhaps you are in a dry season – maybe the driest. The forest is bare, and the wind brings more of a chill than refreshment to your bones. You are waiting. Waiting and longing for Spring, for colour instead of that bleak shade you feel you’ve been sitting under.
Perhaps it has been a season full of questions and absent of answers, confusions and aching instead of clarity and comfort. If so, know this: the wilderness is, yes, a season. A temporary chunk of time. And though it may feel like forever and no light is in sight, it will come to an end. It is not just something you happen to stumble upon; no, it is a means for God to draw you to himself. Even when you feel like you can’t face him, he is working and tilling the soil of your heart in ways you don’t yet understand or perceive. If I have learned anything in the small amount of time I’ve had living thus far, it is that he is incredibly intentional and has purposes for things that we have yet to discover. We are not asked to always understand, but to trust him and obey, following him even into the winter and the unknowns.
And though at times it seems like darkness is your closest friend, I urge you, don’t stop pleading, praying, crying, knocking or waiting. Whatever it is this seasons brings out of you. Don’t give up on hope – it has never, nor ever will, give up on you. Light will come. The Sun will shine again, and when it does, your love for its warmth will have increased, and you will have discovered your great need for a touch from heaven.
One of the most valuable things I have learned in the seasons of walking (slowly walking) through the desert is that it is not a reason or “proof” for me that God is not here, not real or that he has forgotten me. Quite the opposite. It’s the darker, dry times that remind me that I have “tasted and seen of the Lord” that I have experienced him, his peace and his goodness. Because my longing for it tells me so.
The fact that I miss him, that I long for living water, and that I recognize my own thirst tells me there is a God who is not far off, but intimately woven into humanity and the only one who actually gives me Life. As Saint Augustine once said: “You have put salt in our mouths that we might thirst for you.”
So, don’t stop praying, don’t stop hoping. And yet, even when you do stop praying, when you do stop hoping in those moments, be gentle with yourself; be gracious as he is gracious and gentle with you. Surround yourselves with people who can do what you can’t, and who will grab your hand or shoulder and remind you, “things will be okay.” Do the things that remind you that you are alive, and that hope is never lost, even if it feels lost to you now. Rest in his ability to hold you, and know that joy will again come.