So I once again have insomnia. Hence the second blog of the night.

Today Ro and I went to the Cora Simmons house for a prayer lunch. People from a bunch of different churches gather to mingle and pray together and see how they can build community and unity with one another. I’ve only been twice but they seem like a good group. Today we had someone talk to us about being encouraged, even in the face of being “burned”. He talked about how sometimes a farmer or whoever will burn their field or burn a section of the forest to promote new life and better growth. He compared this to our lives and all the crap that we go through. We tend to think of things being set on fire as being a bad thing. When our lives feel like they’re being “burned”, it feels like someone is out to harm us. But if what God says is true, it’s for our good.

After the guy talked, he anointed us with oil and the oil didn’t burn me or anything so I guess that’s a good sign. Then we broke up into smaller groups to pray. Ro and I prayed with the pastor of Trinity and a lady from E 91st St. We each prayed a general prayer then we went around and said what we felt like our personal “fire” was. I told them about how I’ve been really struggling with not feeling God’s presence for quite awhile now. In November Shane talked about Laments in his Psalms series and this was mine.

You said “Ask and it will be given you.”

I’m standing here asking “why” but I’ve received no answers.

You promised “Knock and the door will be opened.”

Well, I’ve been standing here in the rain, pounding ’til my fists are raw and bloody.

And still nothing.

Silence.

The funny thing is I don’t know who stopped talking to who first.

But somewhere along the way, You stopped listening.

Was it my sin?

Did I harden my heart one too many times?

You say that nothing can separate me from Your love.

Then why is there a gaping hole in my chest?

And here is the kick in the head.

Here is the irony of it all.

I’m not answering the question I’m asking myself either:

If You have abandoned me,

if You are sitting inside, deaf to my pleas……

why am I still standing here,

a fool in the rain?

Not much has changed since then. As I told my prayer group, I don’t know what I did or what I should do or if He’s listening or just flipping me off. I feel like a hypocrite when I’m in church singing or even today when I was praying. I was mad at Him for not talking to me. Now I just feel lost and alone. A fool in the rain. I am a Led Zeppelin song. I feel like the little girl who used to be the apple of her father’s eye and lost it somehow and doesn’t know how to get it back. I saw a clip of Grey’s Anatomy on YouTube where this lady (I think it was Dr. Grey) was talking to this guy about the fact that she loved him and she knew he was with this other girl but she wanted him to know that she loved him. She said to him “Pick me. Choose me. Love me.” In some ways, I feel like that’s what I’ve been saying to God. Intellectually, I know that He doesn’t have to “pick” me. I know that I have already been chosen. I know that I am already loved. I know these things in my head. But my poor little soul can’t feel it through the dark cloud that is surrounding it. And I know that if I feel far from God, I’m probably the one who has moved. But I don’t know how to move back. And part of me is scared to try. Because part of me is afraid that God is the one who moved and that if I try to move, I will find that I was never the one who moved in the first place.

Parker Palmer said in his book ‘A Hidden Wholeness’, “The deeper our faith, the more doubt we must endure; the deeper our hope, the more prone we are to despair; the deeper our love, the more pain its loss will bring: these are a few of the paradoxes we must hold as human beings. If we refuse to hold them, in hopes of living without doubt, despair, and pain, we also find ourselves living without faith, hope, and love.” I can only hope that the doubt I carry is coming from a deepening of my faith.

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