Saturday, 4 October 2014

Back to the Start

As I sat at that table, smiling and introducing myself, I felt my heart in my mouth. It was a casual social occasion but I already felt under pressure with these questions, people trying to work out how Christian I was or if indeed I was at all. The simple questions warranted a wince in response: "Do you go to a church?" A straight forward yes would have been sufficient, but also untrue.  So instead I hesitate and stumble my way through an explanation of my year abroad and try to find an adequate way to summarise my lack of faith and major cynicism. I think in the end I decided on "I have questions, so where better to go than back to the start?" I sat and listened obediently, interested and attentive, like I should have been. And to a certain extent, I was. The rest of me however, was jealous. Jealous of these people who were telling an audience of 1500 how they'd felt God change and impact them. One woman described her experience like a "warm hug." I knew that. I had experienced it. But it felt so long ago and so far away. And all I could think was; "In the last year I have tried so hard, I have spent so much time hungry and desperate for your voice, your intervention, yet all I heard is nothing." Nothing. That word used to be ominous, threatening, scary even. Now, nothing is my friend. It is a feeling I actually try to conjure. Wrong I know, and probably bizarre.  But as I sat there, reassured by my friend being there too, I also felt guilty. I knew exactly what to say, and how to react. So I did that. I fell into auto pilot, as on so many occasions, I said and did all of the right things. But I wanted to scream and shout and rage. I wanted to run. I wanted to cry. "WHY ME? WHY THE SILENCE? IF GOD IS REALLY THERE AND JESUS REALLY DIED IN MY PLACE AND HE REALLY CARES, THEN WHY HAVE I FELT AND HEARD NOTHING FOR SO LONG?" I always thought a relationship was meant to be two ways, and my one with Jesus has easily been one of the best, and definitely the longest one I have ever had. But this year, I have spent more time with radio silence than I have experiencing him. They say we always turn away before God does. They say that we are the imperfect ones who need his perfection. But if God is perfect, and if God loves me, then why has he turned his back? I have been to hell and back, but this is worse. What has been at the centre of my world for 6 years now feels wrong. It feels invisible. And that hurts. People say you should hold on. Even when you think you're done you should hold on. But my question is, to what? What is there to hold onto if every prayer is met with silence?

I don't want to feel like this. I would love to end this post by saying that going back to the start, by experiencing an introduction to Alpha again I had a huge breakthrough and I am stronger than ever in my faith. But that isn't true. Not remotely. If anything I feel more hurt and angry than before (which is an impressive feat). 

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