Driving late in the evening, to a meeting I didn’t want to go to, I started to complain to God. I listed all the more valuable things I could be doing with my time, I told him how uncomfortable the event I was going to made me, I told him I was tired. I whined lie whining was an Olympic sport and I was up for the gold medal. I was driving down dark, narrow country lanes under cloudy skies, relying on a satnav that kept losing satellite connection. “Turn right” the satnav said and then said the name of a road that wasn’t the one I had just turned into. I was in a narrow, single track lane with high hedges and nowhere to turn around. I had no way to turn around but I did have something else to add to my list of complaints. Lost, I drove between hedgerows for maybe 10 minutes and then God showed me why he’d taken me the wrong way. The cloud broke, silvery moonlight lit the night and I disappeared into an old sunken lane, a Holloway, high curving banks lined with trees which curled in to form a tunnel. Light spilled through the bare tree limbs in twinkling shards and scattering across the road before me. I drove through this in silence, with my mouth open. For what seemed like an hour but was probably only five minutes I found peace to go on and enjoy something I had not been looking forward to.
A good friend of mine heads for the sea shore when he needs to talk to God. He heads to a quiet, often near deserted beach near his home and on good days he will wander down the sand and pebbles singing at the top of his voice with his dog looking at him like he’s in pain. On bad days he will follow the same path but complain and shout and argue with God. And God is happy to hear from him either way.
When I feel distant from God, and any Christian who tells you they don’t feel distant from God at times is either not being honest with you or not being honest with themselves, I head for woodlands. I find God most readily in his creation, in the discovery of perfect puffball mushrooms nestled at the base of the trunk of a large holly, at an unexpected face to face meeting with a deer, at a pond carpeted with lily pads in flower.
A lady I know finds God in her craft room. She finds God in the act of creation and no matter how imperfect her work may be it brings a closeness that comes with sharing that experience of creating.
People do connect with God in church but sometimes that is hard, surrounded by others who seem to be doing a much better job of being Christ-like it can be near impossible and we do judge ourselves against others. Matthew 6;6 tells us to go and pray in our room with the door shut. This verse emphasises how much God values that one to one private conversation with us. His shoulders are big enough to deal with our complaints, his heart is big enough to humbly accept our praise and his understanding is big enough to know what we want to say when we can’t find the words.