“Deep, deep inside we finally meet the reality of our need for God and God alone.”
Where is God? Now I know where we meet; we meet in the heart. But there’s lots of open space in this human heart, so many ways to travel without seemingly finding that reality. I don’t even know what that experience with God would look like, feel like, smell like. Something would probably shift or open inside of me but I don’t know. What I know is the starkness of that place deep, deep inside. What I know is how challenging it is to sit in that space and await God. What I know is the despair of countless hours with seemingly no response. And yet I get up every day and say my prayers and read my Bible and sit in the quiet of God’s Spirit because I’ve tried all the other paths and they simply don’t work. Last night I couldn’t dial the phone numbers quick enough, nor puff on the cigar with more strength if I had wanted to. I knew what the problem was: that empty place in my heart that screams for God was busy eating away at my spirit. Calling friends would have helped a bit, but calling someone who sees me as “special” would be the perfect cocktail of emotional relief. My soul hungered for one person in particular. It made no difference to my starving soul that the relationship in reality and experience offered little grace and life. Projection is a powerful tool in the hands of the tired and lonely. How time and overwhelming hunger help us forget the last time we got the stomach flu with a vow to never eat that food again yet catapults us into the belief that the experience will be different this time. And that little voice that keeps reminding me that things will never be different, let this alone and move on? That’s what fly swatters are for; get out the fly swatter and put that devious voice out of its misery because tonight the darkness invites the belief that all things are possible. Lord, I pray, help me sit right here with myself, this wonderful and complicated creature you have made, and give me the gift of patient waiting. I’ve gazed upon that reality so many times we’ve become old friends seemingly always sizing each other up in the perpetual challenge for who’s present and who isn’t. I have no argument with the statement above. Only radical agreement and deep yearning and, believe it or not, the wonder of a child! Where is my God?
Canon Al Johnson, Canon for Congregational Vitality and Innovation Diocese of Northwestern Pennsylvania