When God Withdraws
The God of Scripture is a God of movement--a God who comes, and then a God who goes. We see this especially in the New Testament, where Jesus shows up by a boat, but then doesn't say, "Let's sit here where you feel comfortable, on the boat, and chat a bit." He says, "Follow me." And then he leaves. It's why he speaks in parables and insults women from Syro-Phoenecia too I think--he withdraws meaning, and he withdraws blessing. And then he waits to see if they will do the hard work of following, or give up and go elsewhere. The Carmelites talk about the extreme form of this, the Dark Night, but the truth is the movement of God away from where we are is part of the everday rhythm of Christian faith. The question for us, I suppose: What are we going to do with the emptiness he leaves behind? Fill it with something else, something more easily attainable, something that won't walk away? Or drop our nets and follow?
Archbishop Anthony Bloom: "When God withdraws: that is the beginning of prayer."