I’m reading a book right now that quite frankly, is pounding at my soul.
I expected it to be another “self-help for when bad things happen” book, which I despise. This book is nothing like that. At all.
I am almost finished with the book, having read it on my flight today and then during a two hour drive to our destination. The reason I am devouring it is because I see myself on nearly every page. It’s a good thing I couldn’t find my highlighter on the flight (how in the world did I NOT pack a HIGHLIGHTER??) because I probably would have highlighted the entire book.
The name of the book is “When Heaven is Silent” by Ron Dunn (1936-2001). And it is aptly named, because the author explores this topic thoroughly inside and out. And as I’ve been reading it, I’ve had to resist the urge to shout “This! This is what it is like! This is what is in my soul when God seems so silent and far removed. This is what it is like to battle depression. This is what it is like to worry that the best days of your life are over, and what is left is to go home!”
I’ll not spend any more time tonight exploring the ideas from this book, because it’s 3:08 AM and I must try to get at least a little sleep before 5;00 arrives and before sitting in a 7:30-5:00 meeting that I must pay attention during. But I do want to share this amazing paragraph by Elizabeth Barrett Browning, that the author shared with his readers:
Earth is crammed with heaven, and every common bush afire with God, but only he who sees it removes his shoes. The rest sit around it and pluck blackberries.
What a beautiful expression of truth! Even during the silence of heaven, God is at work. Though I may not sense His presence in my life, I can see the handiwork of God all around me. There is a strange sort of comfort that this thought brings.
I want to ask God to open my eyes to see. I want to be the one who sees the bushes on fire. I want to be the one to remove my shoes. I do not want to sit and pluck blackberries. I don’t even like blackberries.
There is much more to say about this book….it is shaking the very core of my being, in a good way I think. Painful, but good. I am learning much from both the author’s personal experience along with the many stories from scripture that he shares. I’m sure I’ll have more to share with you in the upcoming days.
But in the meantime, I’ll try once again to sleep, or at least rest. My mind is restless tonight–the thoughts will not stop. Not an unusual thing for my mind. Sometimes I long for an on/off switch for my brain.
I’ll leave you with this question: Do you want to see every common bush afire with God? Or do you want to sit and pluck blackberries? I am so far from having any answers. When I think I may be right, God shows me often that I am way off in left field. But I do think it is possible to ask God to open your eyes to what He is doing around you and in you, thus prompting you to remove your shoes in holy reverence—even when Heaven is silent and there seems to be an absence of sensing God’s presence in your life.
There is everything to gain and nothing to lose in crying out to God to please open your eyes.