“What once was everything — our faith, our devotion to Jesus, our unwavering love for him — can sadly transform into a small, unrecognizable thing, a mound of dust and earth and mess and doubt and questions and frustrations. We might still pray and sing worship songs and have our ‘quiet times,’ but deep inside we feel like we might as well be talking to the ceiling fan.”- Aubrey Sampson
“When life is heavy and hard to take, go off by yourself. Enter the silence. Bow in prayer. Don’t ask questions: Wait for hope to appear.”- Lamentations 3:28-29 (MSG)
In Chapter 3 (“Begin with How: Responses to Pain”) of The Louder Song, Aubrey Sampson notes that people respond to pain in various ways. For example, some people soar when faced with suffering. However, for others, suffering drives their faith into the ground. Whether in a positive or negative way, faith deeply impacts our walk with God.
Hence, in The Critical Journey: Stages in the Life of Faith, Janet Hegberg and Robert Guelich describe on of the most crucial stages in a Christian’s life. They coined the term ‘The Journey Inward’ to refer to this stage. Above all, at this stage we find it very hard to manage our doubts and disappointment. The authors explain:
” . . . the event or crisis often takes on major proportions. . . . For the first time, our faith does not seem to work. We feel remote, immobilized, unsuccessful, hurt, ashamed, or reprehensible. Neither our faith nor God provides what we need to soothe us, heal us, answer our prayers. Our formula of faith, whatever that may have been, does not work anymore, or so it appears. We are stumped, hurting, angry, betrayed, abandoned, unheard, or unloved. . . . faith may even seem to have been a fraud at worst, a mirage at best.”
Finally, when we’re in the heart of our Inward Journey, options such as walking away, faking, or escaping never actually lead to true healing. But, lament calls us away from those typical responses to pain. And, lament asks us to stay put until God acts.
Today’s question: When have you felt like you’re talking to the ceiling fan? Please share.
Tomorrow’s blog: “Inward Journey – on the other side”