I woke up at sunrise. While it was still quiet, with coffee in hand, I slipped out onto the deck of a friend’s beach home. I have set aside this time each morning for the past 20 years. It has become habit. The sound of the raging waves was intoxicating. Rhythmic. The beach, the ocean IS my happy place.
I sat and looked out over the the depths. So vast. All emcompassing.
I searched the waves (as I always do) looking for something. I am always looking for dolphins. They inhabit my happy place and bring more happy.
This morning I search, certain to see nothing, just as in my heart I feel nothing.
Who am I kidding? I have felt much over the past 18 months. Hope, joy, confusion, anger, sadness, pain. Devastation. To be honest, my strongest feelings toward God have been pretty angry feelings. Having told so many for so long to be honest with God because, “He can handle it;” I have unleashed some pretty potent tirades over the past 9 months.
Part of my contention with God is that He has chosen to be silent at such a crucial time. A time when I have longed to have Him weigh in on the matters of my heart. A time when I have felt most confused and have longed to be comforted. He has been quiet…eerily quiet. I have not stayed angry. At times, I have wept before God with humble tears and requests for a touch…an intimate touch…just so I don’t lose faith. Crickets.
It has been months moving through these motions…9 months to be exact. Life is created in 9 months. My spiritual life has been in question and faltering for the same amount of time.
So many mornings I would enter in to the quiet. I would open His Word. I am not perfect but pretty consistent…searching for His voice, His truth, but really just HIM. I would pray the same prayers as forefathers who walked difficult roads of faith. I found most solidarity with those forsaken…alone. I might stumble upon a miracle and be reminded. But more often than not I left that morning moment feeling lonelier than when I started. Is this how God treats His kids? Do I want to associate myself with this God? He is real…but is He good? (More heartfelt, faith- wrenching questions in my next blog.)
Back to the sea.
My eyes searched the waters. Begging to see signs of the playful creatures I love most. Then I see them. Way out. So far out I squint to be certain my eyes are not deceiving me. Two dorsal fins gracefully rising and falling. We have seen several dolphins at this beach over the years and even yesterday they were so close it felt as if you could effortlessly swim out and touch them. Our family watched them playfully slap the water with their tail fins as they jumped out of the water as if in a Sea World production.
Today was different. The world stood still as I strained my eyes to see what my heart hoped was real.
In that moment, as I held my breath, I heard these words:
“I am here. I have not left you, and I will not forsake you.”
My hands gripped my chair. Was that the voice of God?
To be clear, the “voice” I “heard” was not audible. It was somewhat like words forming in my head…Words that aren’t mine…Words I could not contrive. Words that have “spoken” to me over the years…but as of late…were silent.
I would have LOVED to have “heard” or dreamt up those words over the past 9 months. It has been QUIET. Lose your faith–“God’s a jerk”–QUIET. Why abandon your kid when she was doing what you asked her to do? Why show her things, heart-breaking raw things, and give her no options? BAD public relations for God–things. Silence.
Redirect. This rant is for another day.
I sat stunned at what had been a fulfillment of a longing. It happened. I “heard” His voice. He was there. For so long He felt miles away–with oceans between us. Today His “voice” was familiar. Close. Comforting.
I saw Chris shift in bed. He sat up and I smiled. He slid open the glass door that separated us–curious of my warm reception. He knew my morning ritual. He knew I had been fervently seeking a God that had been hiding. He knew this was not my warmest hour of the day.
Tears followed as I recounted the story.
“Good news Chris, your wife is not going to be a bitter agnostic after all!”
I laughed as I choked on the words. Words filled with truth…words that felt closer than I realized.
Today was not faith-found. Today was intimacy reignited. Something I have requested over and over to no avail. I have held unswervingly to a hope that I profess…but have not “felt” for a long time.
I still have some pretty powerful punches to throw. Some pretty confusing questions. I would still consider my current status: A Crisis of Faith.
Today the silence was broken. Today reminded me why I wake up and share a quiet moment with God. And encourage my children to trust Him. Today the ocean broke His silence.
May You Be a Blessing and May You Be Real,