Thursday, September 20, 2012

Deus Absconditus

Our Bible reading this morning was about the Israelites wandering in the desert for 40 years. The desert: That is where God has me right now. It is a hard place to be, and frankly, I am weary. I am parched. I am desperate for a touch from God.
To God, my defender, I say, "Why have you forgotten me?" Psalm 42:9
I am learning what it means to "embrace the darkness," which initially looked like this: I walk in obedience where the path is known, and I stand in readiness where the way is yet unclear. And I wait.

Days. Weeks. A month. Three months.
How much longer will you forget me, Lord? For ever? How much longer will you hide yourself from me? Psalm 13:1
Deus Absconditus--the God who is hidden.

One friend reminds me, "God does good work in the desert."

What "work"? I wonder.

Another friend sends me a chapter from Richard Foster's book on prayer. He writes, "Through our barrenness of soul, God is producing detachment, humility, patience, perseverance."

I feel all of these things clamoring for my attention, but I don't want them. I prefer the warm-fuzzy feelings associated with a father-hearted God that holds me in an eternal hug. I prefer acceptance to detachment; competence to humility; satisfaction to patience; and ease to perseverance.

Lord, help me to want what You want!

Perhaps "embracing the darkness" is not as simple as I first imagined. Perhaps my approach of "obey and stand ready" is more like "enduring the darkness." To "embrace" it, I need to welcome all that it brings with it, and not just hold on until it's over.

So I open the door of my soul to blessed Detachment, who promises to wean me from every source save One.

I bow to sweet Humility, letting every sense of competence scurry out into the night.

I invite dear Patience to make herself at home, trusting satisfaction to come when Patience has done her work.

And finally, reluctantly, I set a place at the table for the mighty Perseverance. He always comes hungry, and I just know he'll eat me out of house and home. But I'll have to trust that the One who sent him will supply me with all I need.

So while God remains hidden, I entertain his craftsmen--I embrace the darkness. I allow their painful chisels to chip away at my heart and transform my life. It's hard, and it hurts.

But in embracing the darkness, I embrace Deus Absconditus. I hug a hidden God. Or perhaps, more accurately, I let the hidden God hug me. 


  1. Thank you for speaking your heart. You have very eloquently spoken mine as well. It is a fearsome thing to fall into the hands of the Almighty God. Especially blindfolded and backwards. Blessings to you.

  2. How I wish I could give you a big hug right now. The desert is a lonely place to be.
    But my dear, Godly friend, you have new believers around you and more will come all the time. Who else would be better to walk with them through their own deserts than a women who's been through her own.
    May you be blessed richly in the desert.

  3. My precious friend. The desert is such a lonely, draining, and exhausting place. Know how much you are loved, know how precious you are and know how fondly you are thought of often. Sending hugs across the miles!