When God is Silent / Spiritual Meditations

Man with horn trying to hear God

Every Christian experiences it. You feel very close to God for a moment, during a hymn, during prayer, for a few hours or days and then it’s gone.  You long for the feeling of God’s presence to return and wonder if it will.

But do not be inclined to make feeling the test of your spiritual life. All that matters is giving ourselves without reserve to God and keeping our wills tending towards Him. This we can always do; but to feel devout, fervent, aware of His presence, etc., is beyond our control. Everyone goes through “dry” times. They are of great value as tests of our perseverance, and of the quality of our love; and certainly don’t mean that anything is wrong. All lies in how we respond to them—with patience, or with restlessness.

Thank God for your mountain top experiences but don’t worry if you never have one again. Such events do happen to many people from time to time, and especially at the beginning of a new phase in the spiritual life, but in this life God awareness is never continuous and its absence certainly does not necessarily mean we are stopping it by our own fault. Just be simple and natural with God, ask Him to do with you as He wills, avoid strain and fuss of all kinds on your spiritual path, and be careful to stay in charity with everyone, and you will have done what is in your power.

If you are feeling quiet and happy, this represents your true spiritual state and is the work of God. Give Him thanks for it and trust it and don’t bother about the variable weather. Make up your mind from the first to ignore the ups and downs of the “spiritual climate.” There will be for you, as for everyone, sunny and cloudy days, long periods of dullness and fog, and sometimes complete darkness, to bear. Accept this with courage as part of the Christian life. Your conversion means giving yourself to God, not having nice religious feelings. Many of the Saints never had “nice religious feelings”: but they did have a sturdy self-oblivious devotion to God alone.

Even Jesus, while hanging on the cross in His human form, felt God’s absence. You are not alone.

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Relevant Scripture

Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.” (Hebrews 13:5)

Reference

Essential Writings by Evelyn Underhill

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