In this rough season of relative spiritual isolation, I started by saying that I am learning my belovedness in an entirely new way. And that's true. But that shouldn't be interpreted to mean that I am just spending all of my time learning new things about God in general.
Actually, in seasons like this, the majority of the work is just remembering.
It's remembering the things you already know about God. It's clinging to them with everything you've got, knowing that what you know is what's going to get you through.
See, in a time when God maybe doesn't seem good, knowing that He is good may be just the thing that keeps you holding on.
I'm not learning, in this season, a new way to connect to God. There's not some kind of secret here in the darkness. What I'm doing is holding onto the things that have worked for thousands of years - to the disciplines that I've developed over more than two decades of trying to learn what faith means.
I'm getting up in the morning and reading my Bible, the same way that I have for years. Except this time, I'm reading it with eyes to remember - eyes that want to see the God I know so well reflected on those pages. I'm not looking for something new. I'm not looking for that little nugget I've missed every time I've read these words before. While I'm still excited when those moments come, they aren't the ones that are going to sustain me through this season. What's going to sustain me through this season is finding in those pages the God I've been so sure of for so long, the God who is the same yesterday, today, and forever. Because today is...well, it's today.
I'm praying, crying out from the same spirit that has learned over the course of more than two decades how to talk to God. I'm not trying to find a new voice. I'm not letting my desperation or any sense of forsakenness drive me. I'm not changing who I am or what my heart is doing by its natural instinct. I'm living out of that place that I've cultivated in faith because I know that God has heard me; we have talked frequently in twenty years. There's no reason to think that we can't keep talking like that even in a place like this.
I'm maintaining a regular rhythm of worship. The same kinds of worship I would engage in during any other season; the soundtrack of my life. Sure, the songs that pop more readily to my heart these days take on a certain tone over others, but the heart of the worship is still there.
This is not a season for changing everything. It's not a season for learning new things. It's not a season for going on some deep exploration of the mysteries of God and the universe. I think sometimes, persons tend to think they're in a cave when they're really just in a valley, and they start going exploring like it's up to them to find a new way through the darkness. But valleys aren't caves; they're just valleys. They're just places where you have to look up a little more, look around just as faithfully, be mindful of where you are and keep a certain perspective on things.
And for heaven's sake - when you're in the valley, you don't climb the mountain by digging. You climb the mountain by clinging, by holding tight to every single place you can see to put your hand. Every place you know is not going to come crumbling down underneath of you.
This is a season of remembering. Of holding on. Of clinging tight.