Thursday, August 4, 2011

God is Good

I've really been struggling through what some have called the "dark night of the soul", ever since the middle of Lent.  There have been glimmers of goodness and grace at times, but I've also spent (what seems like) more than my fair share of time feeling like I'm all alone in the universe, not hearing or feeling God's love for me, only his demands and expectations.  In short, I've been a very good Luther-an, haha.  I've clung tenously to the Lord's Prayer and the Apostles' Creed, resting in my intellectual faith that they are true, and trying not to worry about not "feeling my faith".  Faith is not based on emotions.  I keep coming back to Thomas Merton's prayer, a beauty:
MY LORD GOD, I have no idea where I am going. I do not see the road ahead of me. I cannot know for certain where it will end. Nor do I really know myself, and the fact that I think I am following your will does not mean that I am actually doing so. But I believe that the desire to please you does in fact please you. And I hope I have that desire in all that I am doing. I hope that I will never do anything apart from that desire. And I know that if I do this you will lead me by the right road, though I may know nothing about it. Therefore I will trust you always though I may seem to be lost and in the shadow of death. I will not fear, for you are ever with me, and you will never leave me to face my perils alone.
But one of the ways that God has revealed his presence to me lately is in the grace of friendship.  I have so many good and wonderful friends, from whom I have been separated for months, and sometimes even years.  And I have been afraid that even when I return to campus this fall, that I won't have any friends.  I've considered that many of the people who are nearest and dearest to me were either a year ahead of me, or are a year behind me.  And I've thought, "Am I going to have anyone to play with?"  What if I'm just as lonely there as I am here?  What if there's no one who understands me, no one to rejoice in the goodness of God with me, to rant about rank heresy with me, no one to watch TV with or have dinner with or study with?

A strange fear, perhaps, but a real one, for a person who has spent the last 11 months living with virtually no human social (non-work) interaction.  And yet, God is good.  Because slowly but surely, more friends keep cropping up who will be near me.  Real, good, solid friends, the ones that aren't just aquaintances, but the ones that God brought into my life for a reason.  Individuals that I didn't expect to see, people that I was surprised to hear would be "around."  Some on campus, some not.  And I am looking forward to seeing them, spending time with them, learning and living and loving with them.  This is a good thing.  Because God is good. 

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My Comments Policy: "But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law." Galatians 5:22-23