Part of the inner world of everyone is this sense of emptiness, unease, incompleteness, and I believe that this in itself is a word from God, that this is the sound that God’s voice makes in a world that has explained him away. In such a world, I suspect that maybe God speaks to us most clearly through his silence, his absence, so that we know him best through our missing him.
I know people who have active, vivid dialogue with God – they speak to him, and they hear his voice respond. I am not one of those people.
When I talk to God, I am usually answered with silence.
Most of the time, it’s not that I think that God is not there – but, like Buechner says, perhaps his silence is meant to create a longing that I wouldn’t otherwise have.
And for me, these days, does that longing ever exist.
On Friday, I sat at the edge of the Caribbean, listening to the water hit the sand. It made me think of a line in Alli Rogers‘ song “Closer to the Moon,” when she sings of listening for God’s voice:
“It’s in the aching that you know there’s something more.
I have never heard even a single spoken word,
Except the rhythm of a wave upon the shore.”
The steady pulse of ocean waves reminds me of the voice of God – it’s one of the biggest reasons I miss living in Seattle. There is a comfort to the sound and the pattern, wordless as it is. When I feel frustrated and anxious and doubtful that he even exists, the ocean somehow, inexplicably, brings me back around to truth, calming my heart and soothing my fears.
I’m back in a very landlocked Denver now, after 7 days in Haiti. A mere week was not enough time to even scratch the surface of the culture, the language, the people – but sitting by the ocean on my last day was the best way to wrap up the first of what I hope will be more trips. Listening to the waves reminded me that God is still there in Haiti, in the midst of the poverty, the devastation, and the crumbling homes – and he is still here in Colorado, in the midst of my sadness, my uncertainty, and my crumbling home.