Friday, December 5, 2008

In the White Spaces

So I've been going through some inner spiritual turmoil. I was challenged by a fellow blogger's steadfastness in her constant positive and prayerful mindset towards her infertility. The challenge was because I don't always feel that positive and it made me feel a bit like a spiritual failure. Just to clarify I mean no offense to the blogger, I am envious of her constant positive outlook. I wish I could have one tenth of it. Instead I find myself on a rollercoster of emotions. One day I'm coping just fine with being infertile and trusting God's plan, then the next I'm completely devastated, feeling hopeless and forsaken. It could be all the drugs but more than likely it's the emotional toll that this is taking on me. And I finally hit my limit on Wednesday and let Him know about it. And then I regretted it because I felt like I failed in my faith.

I was mad because I felt like my hubby and I had done nothing to deserve this trial and that he had forsaken us. Somehow he had decided to deal bitterly with us while allow those who don't even acknowledge his existence be blessed with children. We have been faithful to him but what about our promise? "To the faithless He will remain faithful for He cannot forsake His own" Even in our darkest times He is supposed to stick by us? So why do I feel so alone? Why do I feel like He has been so silent? And so I cried out. "I'm right here! Have you forgotten about me? While you've spent your time blessing less faithful people with babies; I'm still here, barren." What a selfish, faithless moment.

But then, I'm not the first. King David, said to be 'a man after God's own heart,' spoke similar words of frustration and exasperation. I was reminded of this when listening to a sermon I happened to miss two weeks ago while being out of town. Now if I had listened to this two weeks ago it would have been a great message but the timing of hearing this while in my current state was a blessing. Our pastor spoke on how to worship when you were not feeling 'worshipful.' He was trying to write a sermon about how to worship in the spirit but was challenged by his associate pastor who, when reviewing his sermon asked, "What do you do when you don't feel that way?" This bothered him for several days and finally he began to feel convicted. Maybe there was more to worship than just singing and raising of hands and while He wants us to do those things what He desires more is our heart.

Mark 7:6 He replied, “Isaiah was right when he prophesied about you hypocrites; as it is written: "These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. 7 They worship me in vain; their teachings are but rules taught by men."

He desires that emotion response by us, that we feel emotion for him and show it. So how do we revive a broken heart? My pastor's response was, "For one thing, we don’t deny it. We don’t deny or ignore our emotions." Because our God IS an EMOTIONAL God.

"The God of the Bible is not the silent, stoic type. He’s not like these statues of Buddha, sitting there, legs crossed, eyes closed, unmoved, unaffected by all that is going on around him. That’s not the Father God. That’s not the Great I Am, Creator,Maker,Savior,Redeemer. My God feels. He grieves and laughs, knows joy and sorrow, anger and disappointment, compassion and wrath, jealousy and passion. He has emotions and He’s given them to you!"
The question is do we trust our emotions? Because some emotions are tied to sin. But emotions are neither right nor wrong, they just are.

"You were created in the image of God, which means you were created as an emotional being. Sure, that image has been distorted and twisted because of sin, but it’s still part of you. So know yourself. Know what you are feeling, or what you’re not feeling. Know what’s blocking any sense of remorse or regret, joy or compassion, as well as what’s causing such sadness and anger, discontentment or elation. If you’re going to ensure that there’s not a disconnect between the words from your lips and the emotions in your heart, ‘These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me." you have to know what you are feeling and you have to say what that is. God wants all of your heart. Not just the happy joyful part or the submissive, surrendered part. He wants the struggling, angry, lustful part as well. He wants all of you. When you give Him all your heart, that honors him. That’s true worship."

The example he gave is when a person shares with you their struggles, when they open up and reveal the dark places, the hidden secrets. It evokes a level of trust. It says, "I trust you with the knowledge of the depths of my heart; good or bad. I trust that no matter what I tell you, you will love me regardless. You will be faithful, tender and understanding." On the flip side what does it say if a person isn't open with you or puts on a facade.

"Worship, honoring God, genuinely declaring that He is good, might be most powerfully expressed when you aren’t feeling it and yet still come to Him."

And this is what we see in the Psalms. You can read 47 verses where David is depressed, in the depth of despair, feeling forgotten by God and then suddenly in verse 48 he's praising, thanking, rejoicing and celebrating. What happened? What changed?

One of our pastors calls it "God in the white spaces"

"In that little gap between verse 47 and verse 48—between 2am and 4am— between last Tuesday and today—God comes and He takes my heart and begins to renew it and restore it, heal it and fill it. It all happens—it can only happen if I give all my heart. That’s the worship He wants. That’s the worship we need."

And so that is where I find myself, in the white spaces. I came and poured out all the ugliness of my soul; my brokenness from this long road of infertility. And so now I wait for the healing and it has begun to come. Instead of rending my garments, I am rending my heart. God has shown me my heart, the pain that has been hiding deep inside and I'm returning it to Him to heal it, forgive it and cleanse it. This is what is supposed to happen in the white spaces, God revives and enables you to feel His joy, His peace, His comfort, and His love. It's a process but I'm getting there. I may never be the steadfast positive Christian who never falters in their faith, but I will be the one that keeps coming back to Him.

1 comment:

Shannon said...

This is an amazing blog entry.

I think that a true sign of faith is submitting to God, even at your darkest moments. Believing in him in your darkest hour. Trusting in him through your deepest suffering.

As an optimistic person, I can tell you that its alot easier for me to share the highest of the highs with people. Its easy for me to be a "cheerleader" and proclaim God's will for us. But because that comes easy for me, its very hard to share my low times. To admit that I question God. To reveal that I have cried out (many times) "Why me, why?" I admire the fact that you are able to say that you have feelings of hopelessness and devastation. Your recognition of them, to me, means that you are willing to allow God into your life at your lowest moment. And like I said, that is faith.