Friday, January 23, 2009

The Question in the Silence, Part 2

Thanks for all your comments on The Question in the Silence post. Great insights. Like so many of you, I am one of those that runs right at God when he doesn't show up. I've been wrestling with God quite a bit of late, in fact--not for myself but on behalf of a few friends who are in desperate need of him and for whom he has yet to move or even bring any meaningful comfort, save perhaps through the few people who love and support them.

One of these has suffered from severe chronic pain for over a decade. And for all that time, God has remained inexplicably silent. After listening to my friend weeping one night as we sat on the phone, I "ran at" God with my pen, and it took the form of this poem. It's raw, but in writing it I was strangely comforted, and sensed I was in some small way standing on the shoulders of the patriarchs of Scripture who likewise refused to hold anything back in their pursuit of God.

Denied

Is this what you wanted?
a rage of tears,
a torrent that now cannot be dammed
faithfully collected in deep reservoirs of believing
until his eyes could no longer contain
the agony of his rended heart
they dive hot from his face
they splatter when they hit
each one just another tiny suicide
sacrificed for the life that should have been his
that you should have brought
that you said you would
Is this your dream? Your wild desire?

love comes in the morning of our dreams
sliding over our bodies easy like silk sheets at sunrise
awakening desire like the skin at the nape of a lover's sweet neck
it whispers its promises
its seductions entrance
we are taken unawares by its wiles too deep to deny
and soon realize our hearts are already given over to eternity
Is this what you wanted?
Is this you at all?

love, you
are the inevitable debt
that all who taste your nectar come to bear
how could we do naught
but fall toward the beckoning life?
it is you who have ruined us
you and your seductions, the promise of grace
but where does love go
at the end of the line?
what is this bleeding grief that comes to hope?
your word is tested
but not here
not here
not here anymore
Are you looking?
Do you even see it at all?

he is dying
he is dying for you



How long, O LORD? Will You forget me forever? How long will You hide Your face from me? How long shall I take counsel in my soul, Having sorrow in my heart all the day? How long will my enemy be exalted over me? Consider and answer me, O LORD my God; Enlighten my eyes, or I will sleep the sleep of death...(Psalms 13:1-3)

3 comments:

mike said...

Thanks for sharing your pain, Michael. This is something that I have struggled with many times - but I think that it is a struggle as old as man. I have a friend who has been suffering for over 25 years. I have struggled myself with things for what seemed to be way to long. Sometimes I can't see that God has moved until later. That doesn't help now, though, right? Sometimes it seems that all we can do is cling to Him in faith and hope.

Anonymous said...

Michael, my heart breaks for your friend. And for you, who love so well. I pray that the Lord would remove the veil and show you and your friend what's really going on. I pray that He touches you both and brings comfort in the midst of agony. I pray for healing, of body and heart.

MSB

Anonymous said...

Michael,
I just read your 2 posts and then read the following and wanted to share with you and your readers...

This is so true! Please take a moment to really read this and seek God with all your heart....He will be found! He longs to know each one more intimately!
Greek versus Hebraic
By Os Hillman
"I will bend Judah as I bend my bow and fill it with Ephraim. I will rouse your sons, O Zion, against your sons, O Greece, and make you like a warrior's sword" (Zech 9:13).
In the early church there was an emphasis on developing a heart toward God. This was the Hebraic way. The scriptures were not accessible like they are for us. So, the relationship with God was the key focus. God related to his people on a personal and intimate level. And obedience was the key to a healthy relationship with God. Decisions were not made based on reason and analysis, but by obedience. "The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom" (Ps. 111:10). This is why many of the miracles performed in the Bible went against natural reason, (i.e. feeding five thousand, crossing the Red Sea, retrieving a coin from a fish's mouth, walking around Jericho to win a battle, etc.) God constantly wanted to check the leader's obedience, not his knowledge. Knowledge and reason came into the early Church with the Greek scholars in subsequent centuries. This is when the church began to affirm oratory skills among Church leaders. Gradually, over many centuries the focus on knowledge and reason has become more accepted in the Church. Loss of intimacy with God has been the fallout as a result of the influence of the Greek spirit. The primary focus has been teaching and discipleship instead of the development of a personal and intimate relationship with God. This has resulted in a form of religion, but one without power. In the early church, the rabbi was there primarily for quality control, not as the primary teacher and speaker. He did not even address the people from an elevated platform. The whole congregation was in a more circular format, each sharing what they believed God was saying. The focus was on the power of God working through each individual, not one individual (1 Cor. 14:26). Is your focus on gaining more knowledge or growing in intimacy and power with Jesus? He desires to know you intimately.
Marcy B.