When God is Silent, Part 2

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In my previous blog I referenced the experience of God’s silence, and how it has been described by several Christian writers in the past and present. You can find it here https://wordsfromasparrow.wordpress.com/2021/02/04/when-god-is-silent/

Another idea to bring into this discussion is that these times of God’s silence are important in our Christian journey. They serve a purpose if we are willing to go there.

The purpose of the spiritual journey, the journey of transformation, has been described as “the process of detaching from everything that is keeping me from attaching fully to God alone.” — Larry Crabb

St. John of the Cross, who coined the term “dark night of the soul”, wrote that “the dark night is God’s best gift to you, intended for your liberation, freeing you from your ideas about God, your fears about God, your attachment to all benefits you have been promised for believing in God and your devotion to the spiritual practices that are suppose to make you feel close to God…all of these are substitutes for God.”

Ignatious of Loyola (1491-1556) used the term “indifference” to describe this detachment. He encouraged becoming indifferent to anything but the will of God, leading a person ultimately to “spiritual freedom” and “freedom to say yes to God and the invitations from God”. The opposite would be “disordered love” or “disordered attachments” which would be anything that keeps us from saying yes to God, keeping us from a committed relationship with God.

So, it seems that if we are willing to see God’s silence as an invitation to an inner journey, we could benefit from this exploration of our possible “disordered attachments” so we can “detach” from them, giving ourselves more fully to trusting in God.

When I first learned of these ideas, I had already experienced several “dark nights of the soul”, and they were indeed painful, intense. At times, I thought I was losing my faith in God. What I realized, when I was finally willing to explore, was that I had some wrong ideas about God. My understanding of God became more clear, and my heart learned to trust again, bringing great joy and renewed confidence in God’s goodness and love.

I have found that, if I am honest, my heart strays, my trust in God weakens, and once again, I have opportunity to face this reality and face the reordering of my disordered attachments. This is not easy. Some of these attachments run deep. But recognizing that Christians throughout the centuries experienced something similar, and found purpose in the “dark night” or “wall experience”, that it could actually be helpful to their Christian life, has helped me recognize these times as indeed normative and necessary to the Christian life.

Reflection

Would you be willing to consider with God, what some of your “disordered attachments” might be? Could it be that God is offering you the opportunity to release some of those, so that you might experience more freedom to follow God’s leading? May you be assured of God’s love and mercy for you as you reflect on these things.

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