The Absence of God

This year I spent some time reading Henri Nouwen’s Spiritual Direction: Wisdom for the Long Walk of Faith. I am more and more drawn to Nouwen’s writings and I am particularly interested in thoughts on spiritual formation and direction. Thus, this work was an important part of my journey.

In the book, there is a very interesting chapter entitled “Who Is God For Me?” And, while Nouwen addresses some more well-known aspects such as “God Is with Us” and “God Is Personal,” he also offers insights on a not-so-talked-about characteristic: “God Is Hidden.”

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Psalm 42 – Lament

We all know the opening lines of Psalm 42, right?

I imagine that, if I started it off, you could finish it.

As the deer pants for streams of water. . .

These words were turned into an intimate worship song a few decades ago. Many of us still remember it even today. But what if I told you Psalm 42 is actually a lament, a complaint, a pouring out of pain, hurt, fear, and more.

For starters, check out verses 1-3.

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Lament in Silence

lament rock

The church has entered the season of Lent. This is a focused period of humility, repentance and embracing our own mortality. As my pastor has recently reminded us, Lent is not about asking, “What am I going to give up?” Rather, Lent asks, “Where have I moved away from God and how might I move toward him?”

This may happen within the realm of giving something up, fasting from a particular item that has pulled our heart away from our Father. But giving up something isn’t a magical formula—and we don’t need to give up something just to give up something, to show our own strong will. We are desirous that our hearts be uncovered, which will hopefully push us toward God as we feel our desperation. Continue reading