When your life unfolds like a heart wrenching drama. When you get that phone call at 2 a.m., those test results come back, a uniform shows up at your door, your loved one shudders their last breath and the curtains suddenly close on that life you had and the lights fade to black. You can be sitting in that theatre surrounded by people, completely alone. And the One your soul is crying out to is silent.
I’ve talked with so many people who have walked through suffering and have recalled the same thing. During their darkest moments, biggest trials in life, God’s silence seemed to echo louder than the beating of their broken hearts. During my own darkest moments I’d pondered things I’d heard. The Footprints in the sand poem and “The teacher is always silent during a test”. Neither sat well with me. Partially because neither seemed to have any Biblical backing. I wanted real answers. Real truth. Where was He and why couldn’t I see Him, feel Him, or hear Him when I’d needed Him the most?
I recently read Ann Voscamp’s One Thousand Gifts. And I was blown away by her thoughts on a piece of scripture I’d read plenty of times before but now has been rolling around in my head for weeks.
22 When my glory passes by, I will put you in a cleft in the rock and cover you with my hand until I have passed by.
What if, when it’s the darkest, you feel the most alone, you could have been so close to the One you needed, you could have practically
Yes, what if during those loneliest, soul wrenching, heart breaking, moments.
He was passing by
And placed you in a cleft in a rock. Mercifully covering your eyes until He passed.
But wait, it gets better.
23 Then I will remove my hand and you will see my back; but my face must not be seen.”
Then, when you’ve exited stage left of grief, the curtains open again to slowly reveal your new normal, and you can see. You can see His perfect timing, His masterful weaving once He’s gone by. He’d been there all along. Closer than He’s ever been.
When it had seemed like the world’s worst cliffhanger, you hadn’t been hanging to the edge of a cliff at all, but been carefully placed in a cleft instead.
And if you’re currently in the dark, achingly silent, loneliness of that cleft, patiently waiting for His glory to pass, for the chance to see, feel and hear Him again, know that He is SO CLOSE.