Waiting for the Moon

Photo Credit: Ben Jenkins

Photo Credit: Ben Jenkins


 
It was a week when life felt particularly grey, and God felt far. A friend, Jamie Wright Bagley, had suggested a different way of connecting with God – to select a symbol, maybe a feather, or a circle, or a significant colour, and look for the ways that God spoke through that symbol that week.
 
These were some of her suggestions (with limited meanings listed):
 
– Blue (serenity, peace, trust)
– Circles (infinity, wholeness, unity)
– Mirror (self-knowledge, reflection, acceptance)
– Bells (call-to-action, arrival, parousia)
– Tree (growth, regeneration, life)
– Bird (freedom, divine blessing, resurrection)
– Moon (rhythm, divine feminine, illumination)
– Rose (love and beauty, compassion)
 
I was a little skeptical. It sounded a bit hippy, and I wasn’t sure that God would speak in those ways. I was always on safer ground with the Bible, and yet the Bible felt so alien to me that week.
 
But I wanted to try it, if only to prove to myself that it wouldn’t work for me, so I selected the moon as my symbol. Maybe God would show up. I didn’t hold out much hope.
 
***
 
My other friends had really entered into the exercise, and were excitedly sharing the way that God had spoken to them through it. I felt a familiar envy. Why was it that God seemed to speak to other people, and not me?
 
When we got to the end of the week, Jamie asked us, ‘When did you see your symbol? what was your experience of it? How did God speak to you through it?’
 
I thought back over the past week and realised with a pang of bitterness that I hadn’t even seen the moon. Each night, the light had gone, and the night had come, and I had –
 
I stopped abruptly in my thoughts. I stared at the window, open-mouthed. It was a punch-in-the-gut revelation.
 
What I had done each night was to close the curtains as soon as I saw that the sun was setting. I had not waited for the moon to rise. I had not looked out of the window. I hadn’t given myself the chance to see the light.
 
And just then, there was a whisper in my brain – is this what I do to God? Do I shut God out?
 
I sat with that for a bit. I wondered if that’s what other people do, too. If you have been disappointed for a long time, it is easier to just shut the curtains than look into the darkness, willing a light to appear, when it never does. For some people, their suffering has been an endless staring into a black night, without any relief. It is hard to believe in a moon when you don’t see one. It is less painful to accept the loneliness and hurt, and shut the curtains.
 
Light in the darkness

 

I whispered back to God, “I’m sorry I shut you out.”
 
Ironically, for the first time in ages, I felt more connected with God. The symbol exercise worked. God showed up.
 
***
 
When all you are longing for is daylight and the brightness of the sun, it is hard to remember that there is a light that comes in the darkness, too.
 
The following night the blackness fell, and I didn’t shut the curtains. I stared into the night for a while and waited for the moon.
 
 
Over to you:

  • When you have experienced God like a light that comes in the darkness? When have you had the experience of looking into the darkness for God, and not seeing Him? When are you tempted to shut God out of your pain?
  • Which symbol are you drawn to today? Are you tempted to try Jamie’s experiment?

 
Tweetables: 
 

Waiting for the Moon. @Tanya_Marlow on symbols and God’s silence:
 
“It is hard to remember that there is a light that comes in the darkness, too.” @Tanya_Marlow Waiting for the Moon:
 
Have you ever tried asking God to speak to you through a symbol? @Tanya_Marlow Waiting for the Moon:
 
“For some people, their suffering has been an endless staring into a black night” @Tanya_Marlow – Waiting for the Moon:

 

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8 Responses to Waiting for the Moon

  1. Monika Bucher 25th February, 2016 at 10:23 pm #

    Thank you Tanya, when I look at the moon from now on, I will be reminded of your post and how not to shut God out of my life in the darkest times, bless you! I just began reading ‘Walking with God through Pain and Suffering’ by Timothy Keller, Pastor of Redeemer presbyterian Church, Manhatten and here are a few glimpses/quotes, which fit in with your ‘Thorns and Gold’ and some of your previous posts: “I always knew, in principle, that ‘Jesus is all you need’ to get through. But you don’t really know Jesus is all you need until Jesus is all you have.”(Keller quotes another person in this.)
    There’s more I wanted to quote, but I don’t want to be too long. May the Lord bless you and thanks for being such a blessing to us out there, Tanya!

  2. Cathy 24th February, 2016 at 9:59 pm #

    Sooo beautiful, Tanya. I do notice that God tends to speak in whatever language I provide for Him, even when the truth is not something I want to face. Thank you for letting us in to your inner self in this way.

  3. Pippa Strickett 24th February, 2016 at 8:23 pm #

    Hi Tanya,
    Thanks for this post – I shared your skepticism at the start and moved by what you found by trying it. God is so gracious to speak to us in so many ways, I guess it’s not that surprising that He would use created things to point us towards His presence, and we limit ourselves I think when we see the Bible as the only source of revelation; it doesn’t claim that role for itself!

  4. Rebecka 24th February, 2016 at 7:28 pm #

    Oh wow. I have been wondering if I don’t also close the curtains, so to speak. This exercise seems interesting; I might have to give it a try.

  5. Michael Wenham 24th February, 2016 at 6:27 pm #

    Ouch! That hurt. I know I wrote about it in ‘My Donkeybody’, but that seems a long time ago…. “Gradually you come to believe that your dark enclosure is the real world. There is no more. Just the struggle to survive, to stand, to eat, to clean yourself, to sleep, to breathe. Just the battle with growing dependence and incipient anger at your helplessness.” But thank you, Tanya.

  6. Amanda Cleary Eastep 24th February, 2016 at 6:19 pm #

    What a lovely practice and how beautiful the message you received. I did this often as a child with the moon, watching it wax and wane as I talked to God. Later in life, during a terrible time in my family’s life, the hawk became a symbol of his presence and appeared in some bizarre moments. As long as we are seeking God–and leaving the curtains open :)–he will show up in unique and ordinary ways.

  7. Tricia 24th February, 2016 at 4:33 pm #

    Once when I was unable to sleep (again), I stood looking out at the night sky. Between the houses at the back of our home the sky was cloudy. As the clouds blew away I saw a bright star shining through. I watched for a while. Clouds moved across the sky, sometimes obscuring the star – but I knew it was there. Sometimes the clouds of life seem to block out God, but He is always there, waiting and shining for us.

  8. Emilie 24th February, 2016 at 2:28 pm #

    Wow, Tanya. Thanks for this. A lot.

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