Lost But Not Alone

anticomformity_apples_1496559_xsmMy three-year-old is starting to understand and verbalize more about God than he ever has before, and it’s encouraging and overwhelming all at once. The other night after prayers were said and stories were told, there was a period of silence. I thought he was asleep, and then I heard his little voice say, “God, please protect me from the monster at the end of the book.” (A reference to his favorite bedtime story; spoiler alert: the monster is Sesame Street’s lovable Grover). That was his first impromptu, out-of-the-blue prayer, and it was beautiful. It was real and it was lovely and reminded me that he understands something that I try to teach and then forget: that even when you’re done talking to God, God is here.

This past year has been a somewhat difficult season for our family—new job, new state, new school, new house—all that newness is ripe for doubt and tension and wandering faith. There have been multiple times I second-guessed whether this was the right plan and whether we were in the right place. If you’ve never been there, I can tell you it’s very easy to feel like God only lives in the “right” place, and if you have wandered to the “wrong” place, then you have done so alone.

One of the reasons this move has been so difficult is that, like most transitions, it’s been a little lonely. With a relocation comes the hunt for a new church and new friends, and without those, at least for me, it’s very easy to lose sight of God. Without someone to hold the light up for you, it’s all too easy to just wallow in the dark.

One of my favorite ideas about God is that the Spirit of God intercedes for us when we are lost and voiceless. Romans 8:26-27 (NIV) describes it this way: “In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans. And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God.”

When we are lost, when we are alone, when we have no words, when we do not know how or what to pray, the Spirit intercedes for us. And I believe the Spirit of God also sends us people, even our children, who intercede for us as well—praying in words we don’t always understand for things we don’t always comprehend, but praying all the same. Talking to God, as we have taught them to do, even when we ourselves aren’t able to do so.

If you are in the same mental state I am in now, then let’s remind one another that God is present. Let’s remind those around us that God is real, and God is love, and God is here. And if those attributes feel like a stretch to you in your current experiences, then perhaps just put the words out into the universe that God is. . . and let the Spirit of God fill in the blank for you. And once you are able to complete that sentence, then perhaps you can extend that sentiment to someone else—someone for whom the voice of God is faint and far away.

My favorite hymn is “The Servant Song,” written by Richard Gillard, and my favorite verse is, “I will hold the Christ-light for you, in the nighttime of your fear. I will hold my hand out to you, speak the peace you long to hear.” Let’s do that for one another. In a world of missed connections and infrequent heart-to-hearts, let’s connect with one another, vowing to all of God’s children that we will “hold the light” and “speak the peace”.

As Easter approaches, let’s remind one another that God is love. In a time of nation-wide turmoil, let’s be the voice to say that God is peace. Let’s remind the lonely that God is here. And if we are unable to voice those prayers right now, then let’s together simply say that God is . . . and let that be enough.

Photo Credit: Donyale Leslie

Photo Credit: Donyale Leslie

Kimberly McClung DeVries was raised in a minister’s family, first overseas as missionaries and then in Georgia. She attended the University of Georgia to receive a degree in telecommunications, worked briefly in that field, and then went to law school instead, also in Athens. She has worked as a public defender and for a legal aid agency, and now resides in Michigan with her husband and two boys. Kimberly’s current life experiences seem to be focusing on pushing her out of her comfort zone, and that is the theme of her current writing.

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