I wish there was only one of you for me to address this to. Since my last post, more friends than I can count on one hand have confessed to feeling this way. I know that summer can be rough spiritually for a lot of people. Some struggled because of lack of routine, and others have been struggling for awhile. To say that the struggle is real is an understatement.
A few good friends told me prayer and encouragement were the only things I could offer to you. I know that that everyone has to wrestle with God on their own. I just wanted to let you know I’m cheering you on, friend.
I never feel like I have the right words to say. My go-to answer to you is to encourage you to stay in the Word. In the times I feel complacent, this is never the response I want, but always the one I need. It’s funny because as Christians, we use the Bible as our guide, but sometimes it can feel so overwhelming. We know we should turn to it, especially when we feel far away from God. Instead, it’s often the thing we run away from first. We know there is conviction there, but sometimes complacency feels like a better alternative. The awesome thing about the Bible is that it is so real. Sometimes we feel more connected to Psalm 13:1, “How long, Lord? Will you forget me forever? How Long will you hide your face from me?” than Psalm 23:1 “The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing.” The best part about these two Psalms is that they were both written by the same person. Some days David felt like God had completely deserted him, and other days he had confidence God was with him. He went through the same thing you’re going through right now, ages ago. Feeling disconnected from God isn’t anything new, and I hope you can find comfort knowing you’re not the first or last person to go through this.
We know that our lives won’t always be perfect. We’re told that we will have ups and downs in our spiritual life. There are times in our lives when we are obviously being tested. At least for me, I’ve had those moments. The time my Gran’s cancer relapsed, it was obvious. The time a former flame tried to reconnect with me during a lesson about purity, it was obvious. Those times aren’t always easy, but I feel like those were the kinds of things I was prepared for.
The times when indifference creeps in, it’s more subtle and not as easily recognized. I don’t know if we’re ever expecting to feel complacent. When we feel like posturing during a prayer, it’s not so obvious. The week we leave our Bible in the car until the following Sunday, it’s not so obvious. When we go through the motions without any emotion, it’s not so obvious. I’ve experienced all of these things too. There’s more ambiguity in those times, but they can test us just as much as the obvious ones.
This feeling of complacency always feels familiar. It’s knowing you should be doing something more, but something is holding you back. It’s reminiscent of the time before God and you felt a longing for something deeper. As frustrating as the feeling is, would you rather feel lost with God or lost without him at all? There’s always a choice. Instead of making the decision to truly follow God, now you have to make the choice to stay and wait for him.
1 Out of the depths I cry to you, Lord;
2 Lord, hear my voice.
Let your ears be attentive
to my cry for mercy.
3 If you, Lord, kept a record of sins,
Lord, who could stand?
4 But with you there is forgiveness,
so that we can, with reverence, serve you.
5 I wait for the Lord, my whole being waits,
and in his word I put my hope.
6 I wait for the Lord
more than watchmen wait for the morning,
more than watchmen wait for the morning. Psalm 130: 1-6
I love this psalm because of how layered it is. We can be grateful to God, but sometimes we also have to cry out and wait. Waiting takes work. I love a good metaphor, so go with me for a moment. The watchman’s job is to wait. Imagine if he tried to wait for the morning with his eyes closed. He would not have a job for very long because he’s neglected his biggest responsibility. Or imagine if he went off to go watch over a post he wasn’t assigned to. He’d still be out of a job because he was involved in something that he had no business being a part of.
I encourage you to wait for the morning (renewed spiritual depth, peace, comfort…) with your eyes open. With your Bible open. With your heart open. Sometimes the night can be daunting and it feels like the morning is never coming back around. It simply isn’t true. The morning doesn’t come faster just because you want it to. It has its own perfect timing, but it will always come. Don’t turn to shady things and shady people while you wait. If you get comfortable in the shade, you might miss when the night turns to day. Be wary of things that give the illusion of light. Remember the kind of warmth that only comes with the morning. Nothing compares to impeccable illumination, my friend.
Wait for the sun.
Wait for the Son.
p.s. I’ll see you there. I’m the one with the bad glasses tan.