Quarantined in Ninevah.
That’s how I feel. I don’t dare say it aloud to my children. Nor to the inhabitants of this forsaken town. I only whisper it tearfully into my husband’s ears and pray it can’t be true. “Has God left me all alone, here, in Ninevah?”
There was a time when I never, ever questioned God’s presence. It was as obvious as the sunset, and the sunrise, and everything in between for that matter.
God’s presence dripped ubiquitously in that place.
The touch of His fingers extended behind bloated billows of cotton-white clouds.
His Spirit hovered like sea mist over the curl of white foam waves. His mighty power rushed the edges of my world, beckoned me into an ocean where feet may fail.
His breath blew blithely through palm-frond wind chimes and Plumeria air fresheners, cooled the sun’s strength and delighted the skin.
His creativity on constant display, like a Peter Lik exhibit – certainly not disappointing, and at times mind-numbingly beautiful.
He was there. So very there. So mighty and majestic and amazingly there.
And that’s what I was most afraid of. That He was there, and not here. So very prevalent there…and so missing here. Now I know that He is with me always (for the Bible tells me so), but this knowledge didn’t stop the questions:
“Where are you, God? Where are you, here, in this over-worked, over-scheduled, over whelmed city? Where are You when bible studies fall apart? When fellowship groups burn out? When church leaves a dry and arid taste in my mouth? Where are You when local neighbors hide inside, and military friends move into neighborhoods on the other side of town, and old friends just don’t understand this community thing I’m constantly pining after? Are you even here?”
And then He sends things like this from Holly Gerth:
And this quote from Curt Thompson, M.D. in his book Anatomy of the Soul:
When I know that I know something because I can logically prove it, I step away from trust. When I no longer trust, I am no longer open to being known, to relationship, to love. p.8
And this song, Oceans, from Hillsong United:
You call me out upon the waters
The great unknown where feet may fail
And there I find You in the mystery
In oceans deep
My faith will stand
And I am left to wonder, “Have I put my faith in feelings, and failed to trust in the truth? Have I stepped away from God, stepped away from trust, because I could only logically believe His Word? Has my fear of this crazy, chaotic, and confused world that I facetiously call Ninevah closed the doors to being known, and to relationship, and to love? Yes. Absolutely.
But there is Good News. There is always Good News.
While alone may be a feeling, and fear a failing faith, Love is still a Person living in my heart – calling me to love, and relationship, and being known. And you know what? Being known is not becoming the other person. It’s simply being known. And it’s in the being known that Christ, too, is being known, and love is being known, and community is being known. And I am walking out upon the waters. And there I find Him, in the mystery, in the great unknown, where my feet may fail. But He will never leave me nor forsake me. He is with me to the very end of the age.
Photo Credits: Me!
Might I Pray for Us?
Dearest Lord Jesus, You are here. We may not like the here we are in. We may even want out. But you are here in the midst of the crazy and the chaos. You are here in the feelings and the mistrust. And You keep calling. Calling us out of ourselves and into the Your love. Out of of our fear and into Your arms. Out of the safety of our isolation and into the unknown of community, relationships, love, and being known. Amen.