Scripture Passage (Psalm 85:8)
8Let me hear what God the Lord will speak, for he will speak peace to his people, to his faithful, to those who turn to him in their hearts.
So, we’re on this journey, a journey toward who we are meant to be, a journey toward God with God, a journey where we are searching for God. The truth is, God is not lost. God is not up ahead waiting for us to catch up or up above waiting for us to clean up our act so we’ll get there! God is here and has been here all along, from the beginning (actually, even BEFORE the beginning). Actually, God IS the beginning (and the end and the middle and all the stuff around it.) So what exactly is this journey? What is our spiritual walk that we try so hard to maintain?
Maybe we need to go back to the basics. For what is it that you hunger? What brings you life? What gives you energy? All those questions are really close to the same. They all have to do with sustenance, with filling what is empty and satisfying what is wanting. St. Augustine said, “You have made us for yourself, and our heart is restless until it rests in you.” That’s our story—we are not evil; we are not bad; we are not unrighteous or ungodly or un-whatever; and we are certainly not “only human”. (I hate that…Jesus was human, fully human, so there’s no “only” about it. Maybe we’re inhumane sometimes, (maybe a lot!) but we’re not “only” human.) We’re not any of those things. We are beloved. God made us. We are part of God. But we just haven’t found our place yet. We are not bad; we are restless. We know there is something more. Our heart knows it. Our heart knows that there is an emptiness and a wanting that we almost cannot bear. It is that “God-shaped hole” again. Our hunger, our emptiness tells us that in our deepest being, we desire to be with God, to walk with God. And God, in God’s infinite love, is at the root of that hunger.
And so we journey. We walk and we walk and we walk and we search and we search and we search. This IS our spirituality. This IS our journey. This IS our Way. We all have it. Some of us struggle with it, muddying it with materialism and prejudice and fear that we will lose control or lose what we have. And some of us somehow, by God’s grace, actually travel further than we dared, into the unknown, into the wilderness. It is always a bit of a struggle, even for those that seem have their spirituality all together. If it wasn’t, then God would have just filled our heart and then hardened it up so it couldn’t go anywhere and never made the world at all. But God made us to journey, called us to journey, called us to search and wander and to, somehow, along the way, learn to trust that our real desire is to be with God, to fill our hearts with God and to, finally, have peace (not to be righteous, not to be holy, not to be perfectly and fully-versed in the ways of God, not to be the “best” at spirituality—just to have peace).
Our journey, our spiritual walk, is the way that God relates to us and the way we respond. It’s a dance. And the best dancers do not drag their partners across the floor or dance in front or over those in the line. The best dancers understand the rhythm that is not theirs but to which they belong. There are no easy directions to your spiritual journey. You will not find this in a self-help book. There is no quick fix, no shortcut, no road that is better paved or with less traffic. The Way is yours and God’s. And as you dance, your heart fills, and when it is full to what you thought was the brim, to the place where you cannot imagine it can fill anymore, you will find that you only yearn for God.
You called, you cried, you shattered my deafness. You sparkled, you blazed, you drove away my blindness. You shed your fragrance, and I drew in my breath, and I pant for you. I tasted and now I hunger and thirst. You touched me, and now I burn with longing for your peace. (St. Augustine of Hippo)
Thank you for sharing your Lenten journey with me!
Grace and Peace,