I guess I always knew church was a place folks came to hear assurances about the way the Gospel intersects their personal lives, but for whatever reason our recent sermon series in worship, called When God Hides, has struck a chord somewhere deep inside a whole lot of people.
I regularly receive feedback on worship but I don’t think I have had so many calls, emails, letters and conversations from so many people representing every spectrum of our congregation.
These people tell me how they’ve been impacted by just the acknowledgement that sometimes it feels like God is hiding, and that feeling tends to hit at the worst times . . . just at the times when we’re in pain, the times we especially need God to be very present in our lives.
I guess I shouldn’t be surprised this resonates with so many. I’m the preacher and I’ve needed the reminder that God is present even in times when it feels like God is hiding. No more platitudes; no more hollow-sounding assurances. Just the acknowledgement that life is hard and that sometimes God feels so very distant.
Nicole Nordeman’s song Hold On seemed to fit right into the place many in our congregation find themselves lately–holding on to remember that God’s really there, somewhere. For sure.
It will find you at the bottom of a bottle
It will find you at the needle’s end
It will find you when you beg and steal and borrow
It will follow you into a stranger’s bed
It will find you when they serve you with the papers
It will find you when the locks have changed again
It will find you when you’ve called in all your favors
So baby don’t look down, it’s a long way
The sun will come around to a new day
So hold on
Love will find you
He’s right behind you now
Just turn around
And love will find you
It will find you when the doctor’s head is shaking
It will find you in a boardroom, mostly dead
It will crawl into the foxhole where you’re praying
It will curl up in your halfway empty bed