Sometimes the scariest question in the world is:

How are you doing?

That question comes like a longed-for drink of water at the end of a grueling race. It comes like a lover, surprising and enticing in all its warmth and inquiry. It means someone cares.

And yet . . .

That question comes like the bridegroom to the bride before the right time as she cries, “No! Not yet. I’m not ready!”

It comes like death slowly stealing in, perhaps thought about, sometimes longed for, and even courted by those whose years grow long.

And yet it comes too soon, slipping in with silent footfalls in the dead of night.

Why the fear in this question? Of how we are doing?

Because to answer honestly would be to say, “I don’t know! I know I’m not okay. And I don’t know all the reasons why. And I don’t know what will make me okay. And I am afraid to ask. Afraid to answer!”

To open that box, to answer those questions would make me have to stand and contend with my thoughts and feelings.

But I’ve done all this already. Asked these questions.

And I am still short on answers. Or at least answers that satisfy. And I’m so tired. Tired of rolling all the pieces around in my head, observing them from every angle, yet seeing no new solution. No new path. No new hope to run toward. Just more pain and uncertainty. And I don’t think I have the strength for it.

So here I lie.

I lie in the shadows of my mind, daring not breathe too loudly, nor think too strongly, lest my thoughts come after me again and drag me down into the pit, the darkness that I’ve already wallowed in before. The depths of uncertainty, solitude, and pain.

Would He meet me there? The One whom I trusted for so long? Yet I feel His far-ness, His absence so acutely as to leave a gaping void that threatens to swallow me into myself and consume me whole.

Where are You?!?

I cry and call out. But I don’t expect an answer any longer, even as I long for one. Even as I say, “Rescue me! I miss you. I need you. Help me.”

I’m met with deafening silence in the darkness. No fire. No wind. No whisper.

I feel utterly bereft and alone. Alone in twice the hell, because I know all the answers. I know the verses, the promises, the prayers.

And yet these things leave me feeling even more empty. I am reminded again that if there is fault, it lays with me. It’s my doubts. My sin. My fault.

It could never be You who abandoned me; it must be my doing. At least that’s what I read . . .

Gaslighting? Is it really me? Or is it You? Weren’t You supposed to do the work in me?

So I return again. Why have You made me this way? To long for You even as I doubt You, even hate You.

Shall the pot say to the Potter, “Why have you made me like this?”

Is that You placing eternity in my heart? Or do I just long for the comfortable?

I miss you. I hate you.

I am so tired of hurting.

It feels better sometimes to stop asking. Because it hurts to keep hoping.

It feels like a Friend and Father would comfort and answer me when I ask, “Why . . . why?”

I miss Your voice.

So I sit. Quietly. Hoping not to call the thoughts to mind. Hoping for rest for a moment from the wrestling in my soul. And hoping for peace. Real peace. And love.

I can’t stop.

I have to keep going.


Going . . .

I long for rest.

I wait for the Lord.

My soul waits.

And waits.

What do you do when God feels far away? What keeps you going in your “dark nights of the soul”? Have you ever written out, prayed, or read a lament to the Lord?

About the Author

  • Thank you for your gut-level honesty, Ben. This resonated so deeply with me. My spouse and I are in a similar place right now, and I am at a loss of how to be the best support at times. My heart aches…💔❤️‍🩹

  • Oh Ben. Your lament. It so resonates. Oh man. I wish you lived down the road and we could share a beer together and compare notes. Go well guy. The Lord is our Shepherd…or we die.

  • Even Jesus had those feelings if you go by his words on the cross, “My God, my God, why have you abandoned me?”

    • I think Jesus’ capacity to lament is what “sells” me on Christianity more than anything else. Truly a game-changing and life-giving reality for a savior to suffer with us.

  • Ben, thanks for pouring your heart out. I relate to what sometimes feels like endless waiting. Deep, painful, unrequited longing. I pray he shows up soon and sustains you in the meantime.

  • What if God seems distant so we will hunger more for Him? This isn’t my idea but one that I have learned from reading various books by Larry Crabb and Dan. B. Allender about our yearnings that go unanswered. The real danger isn’t missing God’s presence, but that we numb our hearts to the hope and desire for God. I’m in the process of leaving that point presently, and I can testify that it’s not a good place to be. Thankfully, God will draw us close and one day will set all things right for those who wait and hope. Thanks for sharing this honest lament.

  • >