I finally got around to doing the sun on my Beloved Disciple painting. The painting was done using watercolour and therefore it was almost impossible to add the sun detail after the dark clouds had been painted. So I left it until I got home to do with acrylic paint.
I painted the sun breaking through the clouds as a reminder of a late morning walk by the beach. The sea was choppy but I was calm. I pondered Isaiah 43:1-4. Whatever rough waters I go through God will be with me and I will come through them. Sunlight broke through the dark clouds and I thought no matter how dark it gets, His love breaks through. I looked away but when I looked back it had gone. Fleeting glimpses of God! I felt calm and at peace.
When I was back in my room reflecting on the walk and writing my journal the sun shone through the clouds and the rays could be seen coming down through them. Dark clouds then went over the top of the sun again. I had just been writing about the sun breaking through the clouds on my walk and I felt that God might have been saying. “You know I am always with you even when hidden from your sight. I AM with you always to the end of the age.” Just as I finished writing what I thought God was saying I felt the sun shining on me through the window – bright and warm. Confirmation that I was on the right track???? I believe it was.
Sometimes God can seem distant and you can begin to wonder if faith is just a figment of your imagination. Or you may think that God has abandoned you in your hour of need. There have been several times in my life when I have thought that God had abandoned me, that he was no longer there. One of my early prayer poems acknowledges this desire to meet with God and wondering if he really is there.
BE STILL AND KNOW THAT I AM GOD
Are you really there?
Do you care
that I think you’re just my imagination
a bit of an hallucination.
It’s just not fair!
You said “Be still”
so I strolled up the hill
I admired the view
watched a wandering ewe
I was very still.
But you weren’t there
no matter how I’d stare
I couldn’t see you
I couldn’t hear you
You just weren’t there.
Deafened by the silence
of your absence
blinded by creation
I’m left with just one question
why don’t I know your presence?
Since those early days of discipleship when my faith was new and growing I have learnt that God IS there regardless of how I feel or whether or not I can feel him.
When I was in India in 2000 on a university trip I was going through a period of great doubt. God spoke to me through my staring without my glasses on (so out of focus) at an Indian shrine with an ‘om’ on it. I thought it looked like a foetus and I felt God say to me that just as a foetus doesn’t know its mother, it is being fed through the umbilical cord, so too God is holding on to me, and feeding me even though I can’t feel it.
On other occasions he has assured me through the words of Isaiah 43:1-7 that whatever I go through he is there with me and he will not let me be overwhelmed. These are the words down the right hand side of my Beloved Disciple painting.
So now, whenever I am going through a tough patch and God seems to have gone into hiding I know that it isn’t that He has gone, but that the clouds of despair or depression or whatever are hiding him, just like the sun is always there orbiting the earth, but often out of sight. We glimpse the sun through the clouds. We are assured of God’s faithfulness when we see a rainbow after rain. We can have hope that the sun will follow the rain that the dark clouds will pass and that once again we will feel the warmth of his love like the sun on our face on a sunny day.