This is a low I’ve never experienced before. Some might call it depression, others “feeling lost”, some might label it as “finding yourself”, but I call it resting in the little hope I have left. There’s this space that you get to when little to nothing matters in life. The things that once ignited passion in you, even spiritually, seem a distant memory.
A little over a week ago, I was riding a wave of faith to go tackle a giant. Everything God showed me in our quiet time had been affirmed and confirmed over and over again. Now is the time, He revealed to me, no more delays. As a human being, when God reveals information to us, we cannot help but begin to want to understand the details. At the time, I believed I was being a good steward by seeking His face and His explanations of the revelations instead of my own. I never missed a moment with Him. I felt we were so close, and spoke daily of what was to come. I spent hours abiding in His love, gazing at His beauty. I could see Him in everything, in everyone, in every way. There was no place where His presence wasn’t made known. I began to develop this trust in Him because of our quiet time. I remember thinking, why would He entrust me with these visions and dreams, and felt honored to perceive revelations and insight. It was as if the more time I spent with Him, the more He revealed Himself to me, so much that I didn’t hesitate at the smallest of commands. Some of which seemed crazy, but I would do whatever He asked of me, even when it made me look stupid to others. My heart, so pure towards Him, wanted nothing more than to please Him and walk in His purpose for me.
Innocence in the pursuit of what He said.
Little did I know, a storm was well on its way.
What do you do when God walks you right into the wilderness? How can you possibly prepare for what’s to come without an inkling of what you are walking into? Why would He walk His beloved, someone who just wanted to please Him, into a dry and desolate place?
Vegas. Of all places, the place of my demise. I agreed to do some remote work for a previous employer and their live event was being hosted in Vegas. My hearts’ desire was to go and be of service, help and aid in any way possible. I hate Vegas, and not because of its geographical location, but because of the desperate unconsciousness that weighs heavy on the people who live there. When I landed, I could feel it….an absence. An absence of what?
I’ve lived in Vegas before and never felt the eerie fog of lack surrounding this city that never sleeps. I couldn’t see Him, not in people, not in places, not in me. I couldn’t hear Him, the casino music and buzz of drunken laughter was all too loud. I couldn’t feel Him. It felt foreign with no one who spoke my language, a foreigner in a desolate place. I searched high and low for Him, just to get an inkling, a grasp of Him, just to touch the bottom of His cloak would do. I pleaded with Him, tried to hear Him speak, with nothing but silence in return. Scripture itself seemed distant and I wondered how I could go from pure bliss in His presence to a desolate wilderness with no sign of Him or His Spirit in a matter of hours. I became fearful. If I can’t see or feel Him, I must be alone, and I can’t do this alone. Why would He abandon me?
To further the disappointment, nothing Him and I spoke of in our quiet time came to fruition. My hopes had been shattered. I was believing for something huge that He placed in my lap, something I couldn’t tackle on my own. I needed Him, and He knew that otherwise, why show me something impossible for a human to accomplish, but possible for Him? He knew my hopes and faith were high. Hours went by….silence. The days turned to cold lonely nights. I wrapped myself in the hotel blanket to feel some sense of warmth but He was nowhere to be found. Most Christians don’t talk about this. I could see how it is controversial to claim that God’s presence was not in a place because He is everywhere at the same time. So then, I asked myself, What have I done? Is it me? Did I do something that would make Him turn His face from me? It had to be me… I had to have messed something up. I searched my consciousness clean. Not only had I been on my best behavior, He saw the innocence and purity of my heart. He knew me. He knew I would do anything, I was His, a slave to His mission and purpose.
When faith in Him runs dry and the word He spoke doesn’t come on time or at all, what are you relying on then?
The cherry on top, my health was under attack. There I was stranded in a hotel room just off of Fremont Street for three days with no friends, no family, and what felt like…no love. Why wouldn’t He just show up, send a messenger, or give me a silver lining? Why did it feel so cruel, and me, so disposable?
Have you ever been in a place where nothing makes sense? You can’t even make sense of the spiritual anymore because you just begin to feel crazy. Was that really Him this whole time? Did He really meet with me in those dreams and visions? Was I making all this up? Did I misinterpret what He was showing to me, and if I did, why didn’t He autocorrect my interpretations? How can I possibly trust my own discernment now? Why let me believe for something that He knew wasn’t going to happen? Why meet with me daily only to leave me stranded? Why promise to be with me every step of the way when He knew I wasn’t going to be able to find Him anywhere?
What happens when fatigue sets in and your mind doesn’t know what to believe? The saying, “everything happens for a reason”, just seems like a tagline for someone who doesn’t have the answers. What do you do when faith in what was before seems but a distant memory?
I got to a place where I avoided Him. I already couldn’t find Him, but once back home from that trip from hell, I didn’t want to pray, open my Bible or sing worship to Him. I felt I barely knew who I was even talking to. What is true and what is not? What do I cling to anymore? Is any of this real? I don’t want to get my hopes up and trust and believe in fairytales and nonsense.
I came back a different person and what seemed like, not for the better. I missed the old me. The one who couldn’t wait to spend hours with Him, relishing in the beauty that He is. I missed the old me, she was so certain of what was to come, because she trusted everything He said. I missed the old me. She always had the courage to fight another day.
This me….well, she’s lost her fight. What do you do when faith, trust, passion, and courage all fail you? What do you do when everything you thought to be true, no longer proves true?
You hope. That’s what’s left. You hope that all this wasn’t for nothing. You hope that the God you’ve spent so much time with comes through and unfolds why this had to happen. You hope that He still sees you and finds you important. You hope that one day this will all make sense. You hope that when God begins a good work, He finishes what He started.
You hope. When faith is lost, not because you don’t believe, but because you feel like the other end of the bargain was dropped, you hope. When trust has been broken and a promise in scripture didn’t play out like you thought it would, you hope. When passion turns to sorrow and you can’t see Him anywhere, you hope. When courage turns to fear because you don’t want to get your heart broken again, you hope.
When you don’t understand, nor have the energy to try to understand, you hope.
Hope can look like many things. It can be a rage of questions that go unanswered but you never curse Him. It can look like days of crying, lack of appetite, but you don’t speak against what He can do. It can look like isolation, betrayal, confusion, hurt, anger, and pain, but you never say you are done with Him.
That is hope. Hope is the thin string that keeps us attached to fight another day, even if fighting looks like waving the white flag to the enemy. Hope can look like giving up. Hope can look like playing worship songs but being unable to sing them. Hope can look heavy and endless.
Even in your wilderness, the smallest inkling of hope is still faith. The courage it takes to question Him, but never curse Him is hope. Because deep down, you know that while you would never wish this situation on anyone, hope comes in the morning. Deep down, you hope something good must come from this. Deep down you hope He wouldn’t drag you through this mud to leave you here. I’m hoping that someone else benefits from my pain.
I believe His heart hurts when we are hurting. To leave your child in a difficult situation when you could rescue them, would break me. How much more does it pain Him to see me in anguish? How much more does it pain Him to see me desperate for Him with no life line in sight? How much more did it pain Him to see Jesus on the cross crying out to Him, as He turned His head?
All for good reason, He turned His head. All for the best reason. And so, in spite of my deepest hurts that He walked me into blindly, hope tells me, the best is yet to come, even when I don’t believe it.
So, what to do in the meantime.
You do what you can. I believe we forget that we are human, susceptible to the overtaking of human emotion. To regulate them at all frequencies isn’t normal and speaks to our need for logic, truth, and the spiritual. But Jesus was also human. He cried. He became fatigued. He felt sorrow. He knew what it was like to be tested. He felt what it was like to be “turned away from”. He experienced abandonment from His disciples. He experienced disappointment.
When we expect ourselves to be more than we are we immediately feel less than. Why beat yourself up in the hardship you’re experiencing now? I’m learning to give myself grace. I won’t have all the answers now so I can be ok with not having any. I can be ok with being here. My hope tells me to take it all in, absorb it even when you don’t understand it. Something more powerful than I realize is taking place so don’t rush the exit.
Hope tells me that what God wants me to know, He will deliver. Hope tells me I can just be here and let Him work out the details. Hope tells me this pain will turn into purpose.
So here, I have the little hope that’s left, and that is enough.