Have you ever felt God is very distant from you? Your prayers don’t seem to be answered, the anxieties and pains of everyday life seem to be getting worse, your relationships seem to have entered difficult phases, your health may be getting worse, you are lonely and isolated, you may be grieving the loss of a loved one... and God seems to have left the building and is nowhere to be found?
Ironically, Summers are usually a time when we rest, travel, and re-charge our batteries. Yet, this Summer has been filled with quarantines, anxiety, and fear. Many among us feel cataclysmic isolation from God and others. As the weeks go by, we remember the Summers of years past and the happy days long gone. For many of us accustomed to traveling during this season, our hearts are filled with nostalgia and disillusionment.
If this is what you are going through, please know that you are not alone. This is a liminal moment for all of us in America. Our lives have changed radically and we are in the threshold of something new. We know we can’t go back to what we once had, but the new reality hasn’t yet been revealed. We are in the transition period of our life and this is a scary and lonely place to be. If this is where you are, don’t be discouraged! I know what you are going through, because I myself am going through it with you.
Remember that although it is easier to see the hand of God in our lives when things are going well, God will never abandon us nor forsake us. Take heart, God dwells in these liminal places, perhaps more vividly and powerfully than we can even imagine. This is the very message of the cross. God has chosen to become flesh in Christ Jesus, and through the power of his resurrection, he will be with us to the very end of the age. “God is our refuge and strength, an ever present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging” (Psalm 46:1-3.)
I have always found comfort in the words of the Prophet Nahum (1:7) “The Lord is good, a refuge in times of trouble. He cares for those who trust in him.” I love the idea of God being a refuge. A safe place for the brokenhearted. A haven where we can rest from our labors, and find the peace and security we need. I pray you will find this refuge during this time of incredible anxiety. In the mean time, I have a few suggestions of things you can do to reduce your feelings of isolation
- Pray even if you don’t feel like it. These don’t have to be complicated prayers. Imagine you have God on the telephone and just talk to him. Be honest with God and place in his loving hands all your sadness, fears, and anger.
- Reach out to someone. Call your priest, a dear friend, a support group, Bible study partner, family member, etc. There is a reason why Jesus sent his disciples into mission two by two. We are not meant to live in isolation but in community. The Lord will bless your life through the ministry of others.
- Become involved in some form of ministry, which can be as simple as praying for others, writing a note of comfort to a friend, making a call to someone who has tested positive, sending a donation to the church or charity of your choosing, joining a Zoom Bible study, etc.
- Take good care of yourself: Eat well, exercise, recreate, laugh, love. God can use these often-neglected activities in wonderful ways to energize your life. Go for a walk, spend sometime in prayer, sit in your backyard and watch the birds. By all means, leave your home and catch some fresh air.
Remember, we are praying for you. Give us a call and let us minister to you and your loved ones at those times when you may be experiencing a “dark night of the soul,” as St. John of the Cross called these moments of darkness. May God continue to bless you and your loved ones, and may you have a happy August.