I have written a few times about the process of healing after we left our church. During that time, I struggled with my daily quiet time--those moments of peace, when I would sit with a prayer journal and Bible. Although my husband and I were studying a limited topic very intensely, my own time with God was hollow.
For years, I had faithfully met with my Father for strength and to lift up others, to take in the Word like nourishment. And now it seemed tainted. I couldn't hear God's voice or feel His presence when I was reading. Part of me thought, "Just do it, feelings don't matter." And I would chug away for a while, and then fall off again.
I knew God was still with me. I was just hurt, and I didn't see a path out of the problem. When you don't know what to do, what do you DO? I felt like I needed to wait, that God was able to heal me. And I wanted healing; I wanted that relationship back.
(Photo courtesy of Bonnie Camp)
I even led a Bible study during that time. I told my husband that while I loved the Word and knew its value, my own soul just wasn't responding, and I felt hypocritical. Even then, the Lord was faithful to me, and I had an idea for a new format that made the Bible study a huge blessing without burdening my fragile state.
One day this fall, over a year and a half after the trauma began, everything seemed fine again. I don't know why, but I opened my prayer journal, said the same things I had been saying, then opened my Bible, and it was there. A freshness. A joy. A hunger for that time each day.
I didn't do anything to deserve this. I kept my heart open to God, and He delivered me from the pit I'd fallen into. He did so in His own time, not on my schedule.
I am currently reading a book called Making Peace: a guide to overcoming church conflict. Jim Van Yperen writes:
Against this notion [of busy-ness] stands a community that measures who we are and what we do by holiness, not effectiveness. In the church, God is seldom in a hurry. He is leading, perfecting, and changing us like apprentices under the tutelage of a master. (p.77)God is seldom in a hurry. This statement echoes what I know about my own growth in Him. He does not meet my timetable, my own list of priorities. In fact, I must intentionally lay my sense of what is important on the altar before Him. He is Lord; I am not. He moves in ways I don't understand, and I follow Him, not my own understanding.
I say all of this with the hope of encouraging you. If you are frustrated with God's apparent absence in some area of your life, take heart. He doesn't leave or forsake you, but He also doesn't arrive at the snap of your fingers. May you grow in your time of waiting--grow a more submissive spirit, the fruit of patience and faithfulness. If it is quiet where you are, be assured that He is near. And He is not in a hurry, but will patiently grow you up into the image of Jesus Christ.