The silence of God is deafening. A great, insufferable poison cocktail of blinding, putrid, stinging vapidness. The child is concussed, disoriented. His arms are outstretched, but they reach only coldness where warmth faithfully met them once. Walk in this direction, guided by faith, reason, and experience, and walk on into nothing. Walk on and reach nothing. Confused, he turns to another direction. Try any direction you like and walk your strength and nerve away, until only raw neurosis is left. What is this abandon?
The Word will set me back on a right path. It will help me keep my way pure, will be a lamp unto my feet. Surely. It will be a light for me in this darkness. Show me again the great vistas, the mountain ranges and rolling hills and unbelievable sunsets that came alive to me as I took in this Word. But what trickery is this? Even the great Sword is become dull to me. It does not cut through this thick skin, does not separate bone and marrow and lay my heart bare. The words all run together and melt on the page, pooling together in tasteless soup. Even my beloved passages, my broken cisterns, my heavy laden and weary heart, my great redemption, are so intolerably familiar, so utterly known and not to be rediscovered. Every word has been read, and nothing shines forth anew. “You may as well turn away because the longer you wait the more emphatic the silence becomes,” as Lewis so properly put it.
If ever I have been thirsty of soul it is now, but nowhere can I find that which satisfies. If the preaching is good, I grow frustrated at my unaffectedness, my hardness and blindness of heart. If it is bad, I grow frustrated at the dispensers of such thin spiritual gruel, such shallow platitudes pretending to be balm for the aching soul.
The silence is screaming now with lies, voices not His but the others, the pestilence which stalks us in the night.
Atheism doesn’t scare or attract me, really. Maybe it is different for others, but for me it would only be a thin veil excusing my indulgence in every imaginable craving my heart ever had. A great justification, no not that one, for sin and rebellion. No, the fear is not of atheism but of flat, lifeless Christianity. Never revived, never renewed, just tired and fat and comfortable, suspicious of “all this excitement” in others. God, kill me first. But rather, be true to yourself and meet me in my distress.