the other room

For some time now, God has been in the other room . . .

If you read my last blog entry, I wrote about how I have grown to become unconvinced, and disconnected from the larger story of Christianity.  A friend and I were talking recently, and he suggested that my unconvinced-ness did have a larger story.  He mentioned that this experience didn’t just suddenly happen – that there was a backdrop, a context.

Our friend Doug Serven uses that word often, . . . “story”.  If you don’t know Doug, he is one of the pastors at CityPres.  The tall, bearded man who enjoys wearing Christmas suits.  I remember when he first started using it.  I was working with Doug as an intern for Reformed University Fellowship at the University of Oklahoma.  It was my second year in Oklahoma, and my “story” was not what I would have written.  At first, hearing the word “story” sounded a bit like a buzzword.  But the more I heard Doug use it, the more it began to resonate.  At the time, I realized it was an idea that had always been so deeply present, but that I’d never put words to.

Your story is certainly a collection of what has happened in your life, but as you hear others talk about their “story”, you see that “story” becomes what God is doing in your life – and the redemptive themes of your larger story.  The more you hear others share their story, the more you begin to realize you have one yourself.

This idea of story really makes sense the more you lean into it.  Having a context for our suffering, a greater narrative which the events and seasons of our lives are part of, this can bring meaning to suffering.  If you believe in redemption, understanding a larger story can bring hope.  Living with the belief that our lives are going somewhere, that they have meaning in the now, as part of redemption, . . this can bring a hope, however small,  of a future.  And it can bring rest . . .

I have seen this in my friends, I’ve seen them groan and ache through infertility to eventually, through much suffering, find peace, . . and redemption.  Their friendship and marriage were tested fiercely, but they are closer than now than they ever were before trying to get pregnant.

While I can understand how this is true for my friends, part of my unconvinced-ness has grown from my own/personal disconnection from a greater story.  In approaching this blog entry, I again struggled to find anything to share about, for the same reasons as I mentioned in my last post.  I’ve thought before about the themes I just wrote about.  Often.  They were once a powerful hope that I clung to.  But as my experience of day-to-day life has grown more and more inconsequential/disconnected, the reality of the gospel, and the hope of redemption, have grown more and distant.

–  –  –  –  –

chair in empty room

For some time now, God has been in the other room . . .

I will freely admit that for many months, I have kept God in the other room.  I have been careful not to be angry with Him, but we do not talk.  There is an intentional distance I have created.

I’ve not wanted to go into that room.  If I’m honest, I haven’t been able to go into that room.  Going into that room means talking to God, and addressing my past.  I don’t like talking about the things that happened there.  Not with you, and not with myself.  I have eliminated any pain by deciding never to think or talk about those things.

I have sterilized the events that happened and have concise explanations for them.   I have begun to operate like they never happened.  I have decided to remove those events from my story.

Only, . . I’m realizing that they did happen . . .

They did happen, . . .                                                                                                                         and I was devastated, . . .                                                                                                                  and I don’t trust God now, . . .

Only very recently, with my same friend, did I let a little whisper in, somewhere deep inside me, and finally ask,

“Why would you let this happen God . . . ?”

–  –  –  –  –

That was only a brief moment, and most of the time I continue to push God away, and push away questions that open me to pain.

But there are small moments in which I don’t push away, and I wonder if they will be part of my story some day.


the bust