“Most of us do not experience the God of the exodus in our daily lives. The God of the exodus is visible and vocal, and appears through fire and smoke. But the God of our lives is mostly silent, and many times we may feel as if he is unresponsive to our calls. Although there is no reference to the name of God in the book of Esther, many readers cannot help but think of him as present. In the same vein, in the absence of the beloved, the woman in the Song of Songs desires even more intensely than in his presence to be with him. She so longs to be with him that she is sick with longing. From the beginning to the ending of the Song, she continues to yearn for him. She oscillates between her lover’s presence and absence. She repetitively yearns for him, but this results in ‘I sought him but I did not find him’ (Song 3:1; 5:6,8). Still, she continues her seeking.”
This is an excerpt from Chloe T. Sun’s book, Conspicuous in His Absence: Studies in the Song of Songs and Esther. I am enjoying the read. But here I have to pause and ask, does she find him?
How many Christians are asking this question? Where is God? They are praying to him. They want him to show himself. How many are trying to make it through the days in the pain of abandonment from a spouse? The hurt, the longing to go back and make it work before it got like this, the loneliness in trying to process it all…wondering where God is when they cry out for help… How many are unwell, questioning whether they will be alive next year? Will they be there for their loved ones, will they live a “full life?” Where is God in their pain? Will he at least let them know how much of a future they have? How many are striving to make ends meet? They just want the basics of comfort, but they don’t have the social capital to even give wind to their giftedness. How can they serve others and contribute to society when they are in such need? How many don’t have terminal illness but are afflicted with a thorn in their side for the rest of their days? How many are caring for loved ones, trying to uphold their dignity while they are losing their very sense of self? How many Christians are in bad marriages, lonelier than a single person, unloved by the very person who vowed it to them? How many are struggling with the same sinful desires, over and over? Or, what of those who have been praying continuously for God to answer them and are left with silence? “I sought him but I did not find him.”
Is he not there?
Or—maybe even a worse thought to consider—is he not there for me?Continue reading