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.
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?
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: