There is a tendency, when you get to a certain stage of your Christian walk, to assume that hearing from God is the easiest thing in the world. All you do is just light some candles, put on some Christian music, get your best journal out and he will show up.
Or, there is always the Bible where people have had so called "dark nights of the soul" but somehow, God ends up talking to them and giving them a way forward that turns out to be fruitful and fulfilling.
So what is my point? If you hear from God and yet the path does not appear that obvious, or if you do not hear from God at all, has he forgotten you or lost track of where you were?
God: I remembered you
Here is a puzzle for you. It says in Genesis chapter 8 that God "remembered" Noah. I have to confess that I find this sentence odd. How it is possible for an almighty and omnipotent God to "not remember" his children? The unfortunate image that pops in to my head at this moment is of a god wondering round, tapping the sides of his trousers and saying "I can't find my keys! ". Have you ever felt like a forgotten set of keys?
I am going through this phase of my life at the moment. I have been there and if you have not been feeling like that then I have news for you - you will find yourself there at some stage. At the moment, I feel forgotten, like I have been left behind on a day out – or I have popped off somewhere and come back to find no-one is waiting for me. Dare you confess to feeling like that to the God that says that he is around you all the time?
That awkward conversation
Just imagine for a second that you do dialogue this with God. "Erm hi God.. Its me. I know that you say that you are all around me. Psalm 139 points this out – 'Where can I go from your presence?' But I guess I do not 'FEEL' that you are there. I know this head stuff about how much you love me and promise good things for me, but I do not FEEL that you are there or that you understand".
I wonder how to phrase and express things to God at times; we serve an awkwardly on-time, on-message and punctual God. What is the point of telling the creator what you are thinking when he already knows? I will get asked by my mum how I am and will say "fine" but Mum will ALWAYS pick up if I am telling the truth... Her fail safe – "I can hear in your voice", "I can see in your face", "I just know".
God who sees the end from the beginning and hold the stars in his hands will know how you are feeling and will be able to "see in your face" if you are telling the truth. If you feel forgotten, now is surely the time to say. Better your honesty, however much it hurts you to tell God, than your pretence.
You move, I move
Have you ever heard that thing that Christians say? When you say "I feel far from God" they say "it is probably you that has moved". I smile and wonder if there is a nearby frying pan I can lob at them... before I mentally stick a plaster on the person and ask for God's forgiveness!
I was thinking about it just now and I do not think that is true. As much as I feel certain things right now about my faith I KNOW that God LOVES. I know that God, when he sees a lame sheep is not in the business of keeping a distance and saying, "well the lamb wandered off and whatever happens is its own fault". I would like to think that God would be concerned for and rush to the lamb, bind its wounds and feed and nurture it back to health. "Feeling far from God" has almost nothing to do with the reality of God's presence.
It is fluid, flowing and not static. If I move back, God moves back with me. If I move forward, God goes there with me. I go to a great church in Manchester that has changed my perspective on this; that when you can feel like you are being pushed back, you can be sure that God is pulling you back to hurl you forward.
A great image that stayed with me was of an arrow in a bow; in order to launch the arrow it first had to be pulled back. The action of moving the arrow back is not negative, but necessary. The build-up of potential energy in this movement is what pushes the arrow forward. Be assured if you feel far from God, or that you are being pulled back you will be propelled forward twice as much.
So, if you feel forgotten or lost as a set of keys firstly; dialogue with God about it. Chat to your daddy like a child talks to his or her earthly father. I can never understand what a child is speaking – but have you noticed how their parents can? You may not be able to express the words but God gets it.
Secondly; engage in and admit the moment. You never know who you can help, with what you are going through. I AM JOURNEYING this too. I need help crossing over to the next stepping-stone but I know how to get onto this stone.
Thirdly; and finally praise God for how you are being set up. I know this is SOOOO HARD. I always remember to pray and forget to praise. But praise is what lifts up God in your circumstances. I know that my breakthrough is coming – though I cannot see or feel or smell it. God is on my side and will "remember me".
Rosie Robinson resides in Manchester where, in between feeding myself coffee and bagels I work for an international financial services organisation. I attend a lively church called Audacious, enjoy reading, running and watching films and am currently on a trek with Jesus; discovering slowly but surely, all that life has to offer.
Rosie Robinson's previous articles may be viewed at http://www.pressserviceinternational.org/rosie-robinson.html