I’ve been using a book called “Common Prayer“, which acts as a kind of guide to help me think of things to pray about and let my mind chew on each morning, lunch time and night. (Example: when I usually get distracted by what I’ve got on for the day, it says “pray for others”. Good idea!)
Anyway, each morning the prayers open with this line:
Lord, let me soul rise up to meet you
As the day rises to meet the sun
The last few weeks, I’ve mostly been reading this and praying this as I begin my walk to work, walking down the street, the morning is still cool, but the sun is shining, and I visualise it: the earth reorients itself once again, so my little corner is facing the sun. Jason, your turn, reorient yourself, turn and face God. Starting the day this way is good.
This morning however, it wasn’t sunny. And I came to pray this line, and went to look up at the sun, to help visualise it, and I couldn’t see it. It was gone. The clouds had taken it away.
Now of course, the sun wasn’t gone. It’s still there. If it were not, it would be pitch black (not just a little grey), the temperature would be dropping so rapidly we would probably have frozen to death by now, and in general things would be falling apart. I might not be able to see it, and I might be a little chilly, and a little wet with rain, but if the sun were not there, things would be far, far worse than they are.
This is helpful on the days that I feel a little uncomfortable spiritually, can’t see God and struggle to believe he’s there. Or maybe I’m not struggling with his existence, but just wondering why he’s not doing anything helpful for me with everything I’m struggling with. On those days, it’s not that God is gone. He’s still there, and he’s still keeping the general universe running, even if it’s a little obscured, and even if I’m not as comfortable as I want to be. If he was genuinely not there, or genuinely had ceased taking any interest in me, things would probably be far worse than they are*.
* footnote: I’m lucky enough to be healthy and live in a first world country. My idea of struggles of course aren’t worth even mentioning when compared to what people in different circumstances. Something else this prayer book is teaching me to be mindful of. Is God still there for those people? I hope so…