When God Feels Silent

Holding On In the Storm: For the Moments God Feels Silent

“If this is your way of joking, God, this is really NOT funny.”

The words spilled out of my mouth as I read through an email that had landed in my inbox. I was being invited onto a fellow blogger’s podcast…to talk about what God’s been speaking to me in the midst of this life of illness.

I’d never been a guest on a podcast before and instantly felt worried about how much Lyme would affect my ability to communicate effectively. But that wasn’t the part I felt was a cruel irony. No, it was the fact that I would be talking about what I’ve been hearing from God.

And I was sure that my response would be a short one: “I’m going to go with ‘What is NOTHING’ for $100, Mr. Trebek.”

Contrary to the wildly popular idea in many Christian cultures that there is a very specific formula for feeling/hearing/sensing God in our lives, I’ve mostly experienced the opposite effect. I’ve read, prayed, asked, sought, begged, cried, you name it. Read the Psalms or Job and you’ll probably find me there. In the ashes, crying and saying all the words.

And nearly every time I’ve reached out: Silence. Distance. Heartache.

The three moments I felt I heard from God? They were in moments of tragedy and chaos. Three times in three years, all within a five month span. And in the end it wasn’t as peace-giving as we always hope and envision it to be. One of those moments was, in fact, more painful than reassuring in the end.

My experience with faith in the midst of suffering has been far different than the stories and books I’ve read of the joyful warriors. The ones that profess being at peace with whatever comes their way in the darkness of illness.

The things that I’ve been hearing from God? All the “lessons” I’ve been learning? They don’t fit into neat and tidy theological quotes or overused cliques.

If I’ve heard anything from Him, it’s come in the silence. When I’ve felt Him, it’s come from the arms, care and words of the loved ones around me. And if I’ve seen anything of His beauty, it’s been in the hills, the green of the trees, the colors on the passion fruit vine outside my home, the generosity of those giving to our medical fundraiser.

It’s in the stillness that I’ve sought after answers to the questions most, or all, of us ask in the trials. The wondering of where God is in the suffering, loss, and heartache. Does he cause it? Why doesn’t he rescue? Isn’t healing one of things he DID when he was earth?

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Wasn’t it kind of his thing?

When God Feels Silent: Holding on in the midst of the storms of life.

I’ve ridden the waves of “why” and “how long” and “will you ever heal me?” Only, I’ve never been able to ride it long enough to hear the answer. Or maybe it’s simply been drowned out by the roaring of the waves. Muffled by the winds of this storm.

But the thing I’ve been clinging to? The words that have been giving me comfort in recent months? It’s found in the following truth:

It’s not unholy to be in the darkness.

Be it a traumatic ER visit or unending waiting for healing and relief. It could be loss or pain, feeling cast aside. Or maybe sadness, loneliness, depression or fear.

That darkness is not unholy or evil, my friends. Hear me: It is human. It is honest struggle. This place is not a rejection of God or faith or hope (thought they might feel faintly present). It is simply a reflection of the very place our heart is sitting. The wounds we are bearing.

If you’re pushed hard enough, you fall flat on the ground. Cut deep enough, you’ll bleed. If you hurt long enough, tears are bound to flow.

We aren’t choosing this darkness anymore than our heart is choosing to beat.

We didn’t invite the trial, the heartache, the disappointment to come. Yet here we often find ourselves sitting. In the cold, wet, muddy mess of pain – the result of ongoing or aftermath of a storm.

And yes: life can still exist here. But I’m finding the picture looks different. I still laugh and smile most, if not every day. Some days more than others. I can even find beauty in the simple things like the daisies growing on my front step or the silly antics of my pup.

Yet the sadness still comes. Physical pain and suffering are always here. The loss illness has caused is all too real some days. And so you’ll often find me here, holding onto dreams and promises with both hands. Facing the day’s storm with all the strength I can muster.

In the end, I agreed to chat with my fellow blogger (and now friend) about this life with Lyme and some honest truths about my experience with faith in illness. After all, our stories need to be shared to remind others they aren’t the only ones to have faced the darkness.

And that it’s not unholy to be here. For it doesn’t take too long to see:

We’re holding on with all we have. 

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    • Kami says:

      Hi Beth! Thanks so much for reading. Always value your thoughts and the fact you can relate to a lot of the same struggles. Hugs to you, friend!

    • Kami says:

      Hi Beth! Thanks so much for reading. Always value your thoughts and the fact you can relate to a lot of the same struggles. Hugs to you, friend! <3

  1. Peter says:

    You always seem to take what I’m thinking and express it into the perfect words. God has certainly blessed you with the gifts of writing, mercy, and encouragement. I know that it can be difficult to muster up the mental and physical energy to create an article like the one you so beautifully wrote. Thank you for who you are and everything you do! I pray for your healing and for you to be able to notice improvements in your health, even if they’re only little glimpses of hope. God bless you!

    • Kami says:

      Hi Peter,
      Wow, thank you for everything you shared. I never quite know how each piece will be received, but every time I hear that it resonated with someone it makes it so worth it. I so appreciate the prayers for healing and am praying the same for you, friend. Thanks so much for reading and sharing your thoughts here!

  2. Matt says:

    Thank you Kami for sharing this! I’ve been struggling with much of what you are in the spiritual sense. I’ve been wondering, where are the answers, any answers at all, good or bad if you what I mean. As it turns out, maybe the answers are indeed coming with the support and interaction I have found in others.

    • Kami says:

      I can relate to the want for ANY answers, Matt. Just something! Anything. The silence can feel so deafening. But yes, I do see some of my answers, my need for connection coming in the form of the support and interactions that I’ve been given also. Thanks so much for reading and leaving your thoughts!

  3. Brittany W says:

    I heard a saying once that I don’t quite remember but it said something along the lines of “God works through strangers and friends” and was talking about how we can’t always expect big miraculous things to appear in our lives, sometimes the way we feel God is when someone does His work. Your post reminded me of that!

    • Kami says:

      Mmm, I like that. It rings true with the only ways I’ve sensed him in recent years. When I’ve seen people turn into “fixers” on this topic, I’m always thinking something similar to that line – that they, we, have been given this ability to be a channel from heaven. Of Gods love, provision, kindness, care. It definitely is shaping my perspective of my role and responsibility to be faithful in extending it to others (though I’m very much a work in progress).

  4. Valerie says:

    Oh Kami, This post showed up on my Facebook feed today right when I needed it most. I can identify with every word of it. It is such a struggle for me to see any “good” and “God” in this life with Lyme Disease. Thank you for writing what I have been thinking. Hugs, Valerie

    • Kami says:

      Hi Valerie, thanks for sharing that you’ve felt this too. It’s been a very real struggle for me, too. And after feeling so much shame for that, being able to share it and connect with others like you who have been here reminds me we aren’t alone. Always hoping for a time when it doesn’t feel like this for us. In the meantime: here with you, girl.

  5. Kim says:

    So beautiful written Kami!
    I’m so thankful for your openness and honesty. It’s easy to try to wrap up our faith in neat packages of clichés but so often I find my faith doesn’t fit in those boxes.
    Lifting you in prayer and standing together as we hold all despite the storms!

    • Kami says:

      Thank you, Kim! Yes, my faith doesn’t fit into those neat boxes either. There’s comfort in knowing we aren’t the only ones. Prayers for you, too my friend and holing on right along with you!

  6. Sarah says:

    I’m so sorry you have to go through this fight, Kami. Pat phrases will never make things better. Sometimes it’s difficult to even fathom hope when you’re going through a heavy rain shower of trials. I’m going through a slightly similar trial– I have Lyme (among other things) . I can’t work, I’m wheelchair bound, and my hubbie has to be my caretaker. Similarly, his health has hit a low point where he experienced symptoms like me: cluster seizures, tic-ing, falling, heavy fatigue, the classic brain fog all Lymies hate, etc. Sometimes hell feels closer than heaven for us the past few years. I know you’re young yourself– which makes the experience all the more painful when you have your life mapped out, yet you’ve hit a seemingly dead-end. I can’t offer easy solutions, a cure, or magical words- only prayers and compassion. Many (((cyber hug))) to you!

    • Kami says:

      Hi Sarah. Thank you for your incredibly thoughtful response and for sharing your insight and some of your story here. I found myself nodding along as I read – understanding so much of what you shared. The line “sometimes hell feels closer than heaven”…I feel you, friend. It’s a heavy thing to experience. Sending you so much love and a gentle hug right back!

    • Kami says:

      Thank you for such kind words, Genevieve. It’s taken me years to get this point of sharing so openly about the raw emotions this has brought, but every time I connect with someone else, like yourself, that “gets it” – I’m reminded of why it’s so valuable to share. Even when it’s uncomfortable. I’m so thankful your writing does the same hugs to you, dear girl!

  7. Ness says:

    Oh Kami, this is just what I needed to read tonight and so beautiful.
    Thank you so much, I really do feel the same and felt comfort from your words.
    Love and hugs Ness xxx

    • Kami says:

      It always touches my heart to hear that something that was hard for me to share resonated with someone else. Thanks for reading and for your kind words, Ness. Sending gentle hugs and so much love xo

  8. Joyce Lingren says:

    Just look at the impact you are having on fellow sufferers and those of us without chronic illness. Your heartfelt, vulnerable and honest sharing touches my life and many others. While this journey is not easy, fair or encouraging, God is helping you impact lives! Keep fighting, we love you and are proud of you.

    • Kami says:

      Thanks for the support and love, Mom. Connecting with so many through this open sharing has been healing for me and I’m grateful it’s been able to help others. Love you lots!

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