Psalm 10:1 “Why, oh Lord, do you stand far off?”
Psalm 27:9 “Do not hide your face from me.”
Psalm 90:13 “Return, oh Lord. How long?”
I could keep going about this feeling about God feeling distant. I really don’t need to go much further than the Psalms even. I could stay within this collection of celebratory, joyful, happy, victorious, and yes, lament songs of God’s people. What do we do when we feel like God is so distant? What do we do when we feel lost? Well, fortunately, one thing we can turn to God’s word to us. God is always speaking to God’s church through the Word (Jesus) and through the word (Bible). We just have to have ears to hear.
Another blogger here wrote on the importance of reading the Bible, and he takes us straight into what I’d like to discuss: the beauty of lectio divina. I first discovered this practice at a silent retreat at the Abbey of Gethsemani in Kentucky. I had heard of it before, but I really did it at this retreat. I mean, the best part of it for me as an extrovert was that I was able to speak the texts. It was a silent retreat after all! It’s one of those “you don’t know what you’ve got until it’s gone” kind of things. I had missed talking and conversing, and this lectio divina became the way in which I was able to speak. For the longest time, I had been reading the Bible as a monologue. But lectio becomes a conversation with God, with God’s Spirit, and God’s word.
It’s truly remarkable.
And it’s really easy too.
At least, it’s easy in theory. It requires some patience at first, especially for someone like myself that is used to noise and busyness.
It’s pretty much a four-step process: read, reflect, respond, and rest. It’s not a fixed, rigid process. It’s meant for people like us to truly let God speak to us. Because often, the reason why we cannot hear what God is saying is because we’re too fixated on speaking. Just think of your last prayer time you had with God. More than likely it was a one-way street asking God for certain things. How many of us (and I include myself absolutely) forget that God likes to talk too? How many of us don’t hear God because we really aren’t postured in order to hear what God is saying? It’s just like what Eli says to Samuel. Do we begin or end our prayers by saying, “Speak, Lord, your servant is listening”?
Our lives speed by. We move. We act. We do.
We don’t hear what God is saying to us because we’re not creating space for God to speak.
But what if we were really intentional with this? What if we really allowed God to talk back?
Because that’s where true growth really happens. Instead of it being us bettering ourselves into our own image, we then rely on our Creator to really do what He does best: creatively form and mold us into his image.
Often, our lives cycle because we don’t really allow God to fix the situations. We’ll turn to these Psalms that I quoted before simply to speak them out. But what these psalmists had and what we should have is true, intimate relationship with God.
Our longings, desires, hopes, and dreams have been placed in us by God. When things are not going our way, when things go wrong (probably due to our own negligence and failures), our first response is to turn to the One who speaks back. Lectio divina is a means in which we can really give space for the Holy Spirit to speak.
God feels distant because we don’t allow him to be close. The word that God wants to tell you is that you are a beloved child of the King. The word that God wants to tell you is that you are wanted. The word that God wants to tell you is that you matter. The word that God wants to tell you is Jesus.
Let him speak.
“Be still, and know that I am God.”