Does God seem distant to you? Ethereal? Maybe even a mirage or a fiction? Many people feel that way and wonder if something is wrong with them. Many feel guilt or shame when they have doubts about God. They wish they had a closer relationship with God. They wish their experience of God was more personal, intimate. They hear the stories about people describing an encounter with God that is vibrant and palpable, and they become discouraged or jealous wondering if they’ll ever experience God like that.
If you have those kinds of thoughts, you are not alone. Even a luminary like Mother Theresa experienced what some people call “the dark night of the soul.” In this article, we learn the surprising news that, “[Mother Theresa’s] letters revealed that, except for one short period, Teresa had been afflicted with a deep sense of God’s absence for the last half-century of her life.” Think about that! She felt that God was distant or even gone for 50 years!
Amazingly, Mother Theresa plodded on, serving the Lord. Are you thinking, “I don’t know if I could do that? 50 years?” Or maybe you are thinking, “I get it…that’s my experience too, and I don’t like it.” I was recently talking with a friend who said that his wife recently mentioned to him, “I want more of the Holy Spirit.” How about you?
This coming week on the blog, we will study Ezekiel chapter 1, and it seems to me that Ezekiel and his friends were having those very thoughts. They were experiencing the dark night of the soul.
Right in the middle of his longing, though, something shocking happens to Ezekiel, and it is wild. I don’t believe I can exaggerate how fascinating is this chapter of the Bible. See for yourselves. Read Ezekiel chapter 1 this weekend. Try to figure out what is going on. It might be tempting to think that it is a chapter of the Bible that has absolutely nothing to do with our lives in 2021. Think again. What I found as I studied this bizarre chapter of the Bible, convinced me that it is meaningful and practical for us in a very important way, particularly for those of us who wonder if God is distant, or if God doesn’t actually exist.
I’m looking forward to next week as we talk about Ezekiel chapter 1!