When God seems far away

I remember the moment clearly, when last He showed His face. It was only the second time in my life I felt like I had seen Him. Both times I was wrung out, wasted, worn, weary. The first time by the confounding decisions I faced as a single woman. This day, by the suffering of life...Amy's illness, the newly worsened drudgery of my days as a mom, failures at school and work, at home as wife and mother and housekeeper.

So I flung myself like a rag doll across my bed, and my inner two year old showed herself in the hot tears and loud sobs. I heard the kids edging toward the closed door of the bedroom, but the sobs kept coming. And WHY? It wasn't as though someone had died or anything truly terrible had happened. I was undone by a whole list of small problems, that's all.

Where are you? I sobbed. If you care enough to number the hairs of my head and catch these tears in a bottle, why can't you make life easy? Why don't you show your face?

Slowly, the sobs ebbed away, and the whispers of the children grew deafening. I gathered breath to call them in, explain, apologize. Act like a grown up. I lifted my head up and propped myself up on my elbows with a sigh.

And then I saw Him.

In the texture of the wall, the random slaps of a trowel covered in green paint, I saw the Lion's head. I was struck dumb, like Lucy when she sees Aslan come back from the dead. There, in the texture, was the same face I saw in the clouds when I was 22. A sleeping Lion. The One I accused of being absent was there all along.

And there it remains, if I squint just right, the Lion on my wall, just between my dresser and the corner, in the dark and secret place that my eyes light on when they open in the morning and last look upon when I shut off the lamp at night. I still forget He's there, so often. But that does not mean He has left.

A prayer, from Nehemiah 1 & 2, for rebuilding broken lives:

Oh Lord, great and awesome God and the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who keeps His covenant of love with those who love Him and obey His commands (1:5).
Hear the prayer of your servant (1:6).
Remember, oh Lord, the promises You have made that You will give beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of despair, that we might be called oaks of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, for the display of Your splendor (1:7).
Oh Lord, I plead that I might fully comprehend the redemption You purchased through the blood of Jesus Christ, by Your great power and by Your mighty hand, that covers me and my whole story (1:10).
I resist, in the name of Jesus Christ, the lies the enemy has designed to discourage me and hinder the work of rebuilding. I determine in my heart to not only rebuild, but accept the help of others who want to come alongside. Restore to me the joy of my salvation, the fullness of a relationship with You. Please, let my joy overflow and may my life be a blessing to You and those around me (2:19-20).

Prayer from workbook by Open Hearts Ministry for small group study