The past few weeks I have been lamenting the fact that I don't seem to feel connected to God. I feel lonely, vulnerable and cut off. I know that he is there. I do. I also keep reminding myself that feelings are not a reliable indicator of how things are truly going in your spiritual life.. For example, I have been struggling lately with feeling that when I pray I am just saying words to blank walls and low ceilings. They are just words uttered but not heard by anyone other than me. Because of that I find it difficult to be passionate about them. They seem like words just rolling off the tongue in a world so saturated with noise that they can't be heard. I feel a barrier between me and my God who is the intended receiver. Of course God wants me to pray. He commands me to pray. Even if I don't feel like praying, and lately I haven't really felt like it because I perceive a huge gulf between me and God, he still is waiting and listening. Tuesday as I was driving I forced myself to pray. Which made me feel a bit guilty - forcing myself to communicate with a God I love? I should be thrilled that I have that opportunity. Still, I was forcing words and thoughts, praise, and petitions. And I felt awful. Fake. I don't know any other way to describe it except to say that I felt the words were not even heard beyond the interior of my car. And I was frustrated and sad. I felt the weight of my ineptitude in such a small thing. I couldn't even pray and be heard!
My friend has been dealing with a situation lately. Not of huge proportions, but something that could be costly and this is just not a good time of year for costly. She is a landlord, and something just had to be fixed in her building. For many reasons this was a bad week to get people in to fix this problem. So, on Tuesday, in my attempts to be a caring and good friend as well as to reconnect the communication lines between me and God, I stumbled through a plea to work out this situation. I crossed every t and dotted every i. In the back of my mind were all the reasons he could say no to this request - and I tried to argue with each one of them. Finally, in exhaustion, I came to the place where I just gave in and said - Do what you will, and give her the grace and strength to deal with it. Instead of just praying, and letting him work, I was so cognizant of my recent disengagement and pessimism that I kept giving God "outs" just in case nothing resulted from my prayers. That way if he did nothing I had not failed to help my friend.... How silly. But so me right now. I muddled through it all, and waffled around and finally gave up. I prayed, but did the message get passed the windshield? Not if my feelings about the situation were any indicator.
Yesterday (Wednesday) my friend called me and told me it was the strangest thing, the situation seems to have taken care of itself. Things seem to be working all right again. Huh? As of when? She told me. That was about 15 minutes after I had prayed. I was dumbfounded. Not that God was able to fix the situation - of course he is, but that he heard me even when I felt he didn't. To me it was a strong message saying "Why do you doubt me? Why do you rely on feelings? Why do you think I wouldn't listen to you? I always listen. I always care. Even if you're not feeling me, I am always right there by your side." It shook me to the core. I was taking a human reaction to a situation and assigning it to how God had to be feeling about me. I had wanted nothing to do with God for a few days - and had that been a human friend of course they would have thrown up their hands and walked away. But not God. He's still there waiting. Patiently, lovingly, rejoicing when I choose to let him participate in my life.
And it also reminded me that I can't rely on feelings when it comes to God. I felt alone. I wasn't. I felt unable to communicate. I wasn't. I felt the words I said hadn't made it out of the car. They had. I felt lonely, and worthless and inept. I wasn't. No matter how tangibly I felt that all my words fell on deaf ears - they hadn't! I need to keep talking to God. He is listening. He is hearing. He is right there with me. No matter how disconnected I feel - it is my disconnect, not Gods.
Truthfully, I don't feel much more connected today than yesterday. But I know he is connected to me and working in my life despite my doubts and in spite of my inability to "feel" his closeness. He has not moved.