It lasted about exactly a year and a half, my certainty that God was gone.
I did not feel held by God, loved by God, surrounded by God. All those things which people assure you are true: Nope.
It seemed clear to me that God had stalked off to some other universe.
No God. Just gone.
Ironically, I was in seminary. Reading books and writing papers about God.
I was listening to people talk about God. God seemed plenty interested in and present to them.
Just not me.
Then, a change. Very slowly, and sometimes in reverse.
I said to Beloved Former Spiritual Director, he of the 80 years of wisdom, "Have you ever experienced a time in which God seemed to have completely vanished? Have you ever felt that God was just gone?"
(I was confident that he would say yes, and that then he would tell me how to proceed.)
"No," he said.
(No? I thought? Nooooo?)
"No, I haven't, and I wouldn't want to," he said.
Well, that's just great, I thought.
And more time passed and more conversations with lots of different people took place. Also a lot of silence. LOTS of silence.
And so: God seemed very absent and now God seems very present. And apparently has been, albeit invisibly so, to me at least.
That's my story; it's the only one I've got.
I'm thinking now that it probably has some value for ministry, since if anyone ever asks me the question that I posed, my answer will be, "Yes."
The above was inspired by today's post in People for Others, which goes as follows:
Days pass and the years vanish and we walk sightless among miracles. Lord, fill our eyes with seeing and our minds with knowing. Let there be moments when your Presence, like lightning, illumines the darkness in which we walk. Help us to see, wherever we gaze, that the bush burns, unconsumed. And we, clay touched by God, will reach out for holiness and exclaim in wonder, “How filled with awe is this place and we did not know it.”
~ Terry Hershey’s The Power of Pause, attributed to Mishkan Tefilah and from the Jewish Sabbath Prayer Book.