Why art thou cast down, O my soul? and why art thou disquieted within me? hope thou in God … (KJ Psalms 42:11)
To be disquieted is to be heavy hearted and without peace. I’ve written before about these “dry,” uninspiring times, and not that long ago I was slogging through another one. For most Christians, identifying our desperate need for the Lord is not the problem. The problem is that we seem to have lost him!
Lewis described this feeling of abandonment in A Grief Observed. He was desperately missing his deceased wife, but the door to her was shut and the door to Christ’s comfort appeared to be shut as well. Finally he realized that “the very intensity of the longing” was blocking off the consolation he sought (45). During such times, Lewis determined, “your own reiterated cries deafen you to the voice you hoped to hear.” And then he concluded: “After all, you must have a capacity to receive, or even omnipotence can’t give” (46).
“A capacity to receive” the voice we hope to hear. Of course. The frustrated “cries” that have been deafening me spring from my own self-effort and self-dependence. I was going into my daily prayer time “like a drowning man who can’t be helped because he clutches and grabs” (Lewis 46). Trying to pull Christ into our lives in this way, into our plans or into our problems, closes our “capacity to receive.”
And so, once again the lesson for me then (and for you now) is to let go—to let go of everything we’re trying to hold onto. And so I said, “Here it is, Lord. If you don’t carry the writing, it’s not going to get done. If you don’t walk in the door first, I’m not going to help people. If you’re not there in the morning, I don’t want to wake up. My life is yours.”
The dry spell was over. This utter self-abandonment ended it, as it always does. The Lord is always waiting for us in these moments of yielding and surrender. His light falls on us, the inspiration flows, and our grief is lifted. I learned that lesson decades ago, and I learned it again recently. “Hope thou in God,” the psalmist says.