Some one asked me the other day if I am having a crisis of faith.
I had to really think about the answer but honestly? Honestly, the answer is no. I am not having a crisis of faith. My faith is there, as it has been for a long time now, and it’s solid, as solid as faith in an omniscient, omnipotent, unfathomable God can be. I am not having a crisis of faith.
I think I’ve simply become unacquainted with it for a time. I can see it, waiting patiently over in the corner, slightly glowing and humming with power, but I don’t want to approach it. For awhile, I was angry, I felt faith had let me down or perhaps God was even seeking to cause me pain, but I don’t feel that way anymore. I simply feel…adrift. My faith is over there, and I am over here. We are tethered together by a strong line of grace, but we are not emotional or expressive or intimate as we once were.
There is a word for this separated state, the mystics call it acedia, more often now it’s referred to as “the desert place.”
While I’ve certainly been in times of crisis before, as well as times of great spiritual intimacy, this place is altogether new to me. Once I stopped fighting against it, trying to be something different, trying to be someone better, to be the good Christian girl I’m supposed to be, I found there is a peacefulness to it. It isn’t marked by striving or urgency. There is a simple pattern of obedience, without question, without reason, without expectation or anticipation. It’s ritualistic and very still.
I still pray. I believe intellectually that God, in His omnipotence, hears. I trust in His character that He cares. But I don’t feel close to ear of Abba. I am here and He is there, and in between us is a lonely desert. Dry, barren and beautiful. I’m waiting as my spiritual fathers waited, as Jesus Himself waited in the desert, for what I don’t know. I simply know that the desert is the place of great encounters once the waiting is done. I can be at peace knowing deserts do not last forever. Eventually the sands end, the wandering ceases and there before us is the promised land, with its battles, challenges and rewards. But I am not ready for that yet; I’m not hurrying to arrive.
I’m not having a crisis. I’m simply having a wait.
There are worse ways to spend a season.