How long will you hide your face, Lord?

How long, O Lord? Will you forget me forever?How long will you hide your face from me? – Psalm 13:1

I knew as soon as I read Psalm 13 what I needed to write in this post. But now that I am here, I don’t know how to do it.

This is a Psalm that begins with a cry for God to show Himself. To come out from hiding and be present.

I have been in that place. The wondering place. The dry place.

The empty place.

Some call it a desert season. Or a time in the wilderness. Or a dark night of the soul. However you want to label it, it is a season when faith is challenged.

My time in that season lasted about a year and a half. It was deep and difficult and frustrating and deepening and purposeful.

So how do I write about itt? How do I begin to describe my experience in just a page worth of words?

I may stumble through. I may only scratch the surface. But I still want to try.

This dry season began when I was on vacation. As I watched the water rise and fall on the sand, I reflected on the ebb and flow of my spiritual life. I realized I didn’t want to just stand on the shore of life with God, sometimes in and sometimes out of the water.  I prayed for God to help me jump in the ocean of His presence. I said I trusted Him enough to ride in His waves.

God answered my prayer for the ocean by taking me to the desert.

I sang. I prayed. I read the Bible.

And I felt nothing. Nothing.

Only silence. Absence.

My journal is filled with frustrated sentences and cries for relief. Was God listening? Was I doing something wrong? Was He there at all?

Fear. Longing. Wondering.

How long must I wrestle with my thoughts and every day have sorrow in my heart? How long will my enemy triumph over me?

Look on me and answer, O Lord my God. Give light to my eyes, or I will sleep in death; my enemy will say, “I have overcome him, ” and my foes will rejoice when I fall. – Psalm 13:2-4

I worked at a church during this time and wondered if I was a hypocrite.

How could I call others to taste and see when I was hungry and blind? How could I help others drink from the Living Water when my cup was empty?

But then there would be glimmers of hope. Times during retreats or even just ordinary days, when I would catch a glimpse of Him again. When I would remember what faith used to feel like.

There were times when God’s grace would touch my heart with the nudge “I am here. I still love you. This is a season that is part of my plan for you.”

And then, when I was ready, they came. The questions. The faith questions I had to face.

Did I believe in God because of who He was? Or was it because of what He did for me? Did I sing in worship because God deserved it? Or because worship made me feel good? Did I pray because God asked me to? Or because my prayers were answered the way I wanted? Did I spend time with God because I loved Him? Or because God made me feel loved?

There is not space to say much more about this season now. Perhaps there will be more in future posts. But I can say, in retrospect, it was good.

The obedience to show up. The freedom to express frustrations. The longing for a deeper connection.

A season of absence taught me much about presence. And it deepened my love.

But I trust in your unfailing love; my heart rejoices in your salvation. I will sing to the Lord, for he has been good to me. –Psalm 13:5-6

Walk through the Psalms is a series reflecting on the beautiful and timeless poetry found in the middle of the Bible. It is an intentional study of God’s Word, grounded in the belief that God gave us the Bible so we could read it and think about it, even when that is difficult.