AWOL

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My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? Why are you so far from saving me, so far from the words of my groaning? (Psalm 22:1)

I hate calling bank and airline reservation numbers. You have to run an infernal gamut of number punching which leads to options which leads to more number punching which leads to more options which leads to even more number punching which rarely leads to the help you’re looking for. Some calling systems have even eliminated the “zero” option to speak with a live operator. All you hear is a perky Prozac computer synthesized voice leading you into a mind-numbing labyrinth of friendly, assured non-answers. You’re lucky if you ever find a real person on the other end of the line. They call it efficiency; I call it dereliction of duty.

So why is it that God—who is supposed to be the model of corporate efficiency—can’t answer the phone? Why is the much ballyhooed divine support center off-line when you need it the most? Why does heavenly 9-1-1 sometimes ring off the hook? Is it too much to ask that the God of the universe at least have call forwarding? And where’s the suggestion box anyway?

So there you are, in desperate need of a little divine intervention, say, neck-deep in fan-propelled fecal matter or maybe hanging on a cross. You follow the user manual to the letter:

1) Admit you’re screwed.

2) Call God.

3) Upload your status.

4) Wait.

Nothing. You carefully check the user manual again. Yes, you got it right. Hmm. Maybe you didn’t do it passionately enough. You try again, this time with more gusto.

Nothing. You rummage through your sin inventory for unconfessed items, tidy up the loose ends of your faith, and try again.

Nothing. Nothing. And nothing. The heat is getting to you and you can’t hold the company line much longer. It’s only a matter of time before you’re going to lose your grip. You send up a raw-bit SOS with your last remaining strength. It evaporates into the heavens. No bounce, no echo, no nothing. Not even a dial tone. You sink under the waves.

In rush the theological paramedics. They clamp your chest with platitude pads and jolt you with 10,000 volts of doctrine. They tie off your hemorrhaging faith with tubes of denial and pack the wounds with Pollyanna gauze. When that doesn’t work they dejectedly haul you to the hospice for shipwreck victims where they will leave you, not without relief, to whatever will be.

You are left with the sour pill that God didn’t come through for you. There was no thunder from heaven, no smoking nostrils of divine indignation, no lightning, and no consolation prizes. He didn’t deliver and you bought the farm.

You gingerly finger your bruised soul. Now the slow, painful work of rehabilitation begins. Now you need to rebuild God.

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3 Responses

  1. Whom you create in your own image.

  2. Yes, silence from God…..been there, done that and doing that right now. …and so, what does it mean that those who “wait upon the Lord” shall renew their strength, not those who bitch and fidget. I’m very slowly learning the meaning of the kind of patience that is given by God, not conjured up by me. Dave K

  3. They say that a God that’s as reliable as tech support (maybe not the best example) is not God, but is magic. However, I’ve always found that hard to swallow.

    If God is like a parent, God is there. Maybe not doing it all for you, but not silent, not absent, not torturing you with self-doubt. God would be there, a presence Known and Knowable, at least supportive if not helpful.

    I don’t buy a God that’s as unreliable as a high school drug addict.

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