I John 3:18

All original content copyright Jessica Nicole Schafer, 2007-2016.

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Waiting Places and God in the Empty Spaces

I've been here before.
In this place of waiting.
But it's rather different this time.
I deeply despise that I am so familiar with grief, with longing, with absence.
I'm acquainted with these empty spaces, those places my heart desperately wishes were occupied...but that's another story for another time.

I have played the game of wondering if we're just doing something wrong.  (As I've been told so many times.)  In those late hours of the evening, when the sunset meets the horizon, when I think about the things going wrong, when my body is tired...the day is nearly history...I wonder if those voices are correct. I wonder if the ones who have been whispering in our faces that we simply have this whole life and god thing wrong are correct.  I wonder if they're right in assuming that if we changed our minds and headed in a different direction, then maybe God would finally answer our prayers.  I go there often.
But I can't stay there. Because that line of thought has too many holes.  Eventually, the bottom falls out. 

Sometimes, I just want to call my Momma.  I wonder what she'd tell me concerning this and that.  I crave the advice that only she would be able to offer me, as a Momma to her daughter.  I wonder what she'd say about so much...I wonder how many times she would have shown up in the past several years since she's been gone.  At least I know the answer to that last thought...it would have been a lot. Because she always did show up. 
The thing that is infuriating is that I cannot call her.  I cannot ask her...she is gone.  I can only guess at what her words and actions would have been, and I do that often.  As I've written before about grief, we can only make up the could have beens, because we only have memory and imagination to go on.  Another thing about grief is that when life is hard...oh my, how the grief is magnified.  And it is truly magnified for me as of late.

There are places amidst the lonely tears of grief, the soft and tender moments between two souls that love one another, the arms of a Momma wrapped around her child, the empty belly of a child born into poverty, the music that tries so hard to express an emotion-only to come up short of being able to do so, the heaviness of a broken heart, the tears that roll down a weary face, the laughter deep within...that God is.  I believe in those spaces that words cannot and will not ever be able to describe, and songs cannot sing, that we cannot name...God is.  Even though God is absent, and has not answered the cries and lamenting going on down here...God still is. 

Because we *are*.  When we join with one another in those low places that just reach down into the depths of us, God is. When it hurts to come alongside someone else who is hurting so deeply---and maybe they've been hurting for a very long time....God *is*. 

The absence of God only reminds me of the presence of God. The unanswered prayers remind me of answers to come.  The hopelessness points to hope.  I see it everyday...but one does not exist without the other.

I am reminded of this in the Bible, of these empty spaces...of waiting places. Hopelessness.  Sadness.  Grief.  Absences. The Psalms are full of stories about more weary people, calling out to God, wondering when will God show up.

It is different this time for me because I stopped making excuses for God a long time ago.  I don't think God needs that.  If God needs us to constantly make up excuses, then that's not God!!!  I am waiting for God to move. It's different this time because of just that...time.  All. This. Time.  All these years...and You know, OH You know the things we've been crying out to You for. 

At this moment in my life, if I gather up all the faith I can gather from within, it may just about be the size of one tiny mustard seed, but I don't even need a mountain moved as You mentioned....I just need You to move.  I won't make excuses for you anymore, but it's time, God. 

"O LORD, the God of my salvation, I have cried out by day and in the night before You.......My eye has wasted away because of affliction; I have called upon You every day, O LORD; I have spread out my hands to You." ~Psalm 88:1 & 9~