As a Christian in a highly secular world, I am constantly in culture shock. I experience little moments every day where I feel completely out of place. I sometimes feel unnerved and confused; sometimes left wondering and questioning my beliefs.
But don't worry, it's okay because I can pray about it. That's what everyone tells me anyway: "just pray about it." Are you struggling with something? Did something terrible happen to you? Do you want something, in particular, to happen for you? Pray about it.
So I do. I pray to God, hoping He can hear me while I'm driving around. But honestly, I'm not so sure anymore.
I try to listen, but I don't hear anything. I wait and wait, begging for God to speak to me. I read my Bible, searching for answers in His word. I speak with God's people, fellow believers, in hopes of God speaking through them. But in all cases, I come up empty.
So I try to see Him, but I don't see anything. I don't see any miraculous signs or 'coincidences-that-could-be-a-sign' anywhere, and I don't see anything changing. I desperately pray, yet I open my eyes every day to the same painful reality.
Just a bit longer I think. I lie awake and wait, but still, I don't feel anything. I don't feel better, happier, safer. I don't feel like things are going to be okay.
I give up, dejected, having failed yet another attempt at faithful perseverance.
No, it's not a voice; it's not a sign or a feeling. I've had this all wrong. I realize as I pray that I am looking for my answers, my understanding, my way. But I do not get to decide how God should be making me feel and I do not get to demand answers or understandable responses from Him.
I realize I have been asking for things that are beyond my control. That is the real problem. It is not that my God has left the building, leaving the world to burn. Or that He does not care enough about me to acknowledge me. It is because I am asking for what I have already been told I cannot have: control.
We don't get to control our lives, we don't get to have miracles granted with the snap of a finger, and we don't get to have cookie-cutter prayers with cookie-cutter answers. We only get to have faith.
Now that may not seem like enough to you, the idea of only getting to choose whether or not we will continue on, keep our faith, despite the utter lack of assurance, but it is seemingly all we get.
So, when your end arises and all else falls away, what will you be left with in your heart? What is worth holding on to in spite of your fear and the silence?