There have been times in my life over the last 14 years when God has chosen to hide Himself from me; sometimes for long periods of time. Early on in my conversion was like living a dream. I was on fire for the Lord and wanted to learn everything that I possibly could about the faith I had neglected for so long. So, in an effort to catch up I read everything I could get my hands on. I made many a blunder in my early enthusiasm to tell everyone how great it was to know the Lord. Nevertheless, I continued on for a while growing in knowledge and faith.
And then, the Lord began to show me what it was like to not feel His presence so acutely. It was just a little, at first, and for short periods of time, but I was devastated because I didn't know what was happening or what I was supposed to do about it. During one of these times, I remember being in the grocery store feeling very sorry for myself because I felt so lost and alone (in my spiritual life, not in the grocery store:) when God took the tiniest moment to let me know that He was still with me, even though I could not grasp His presence. We have a dish that we eat that my husband has affectionately dubbed Tuna Soup (most people call it tuna casserole). The only way that we can remotely enjoy it is if I put a can of peas into it, but usually I would end up forgetting to buy the peas and then we would have to suffer through it without them. So, back in the grocery store I was walking down the vegetable aisle trying to remember what it was that I had wanted to buy when a young girl walked up to her mother who was right in front of me. She asked her mother, "Mom, what are you doing? Oh yeah, that's right, I forgot you don't like to eat your tuna casserole without peas." With that she promptly left the aisle. Her mother never even looked up or said a word, just kept right on taking cans off of the shelf. I grabbed my can of peas and burst into tears (discretely of course!) I left that store knowing that even though I felt that God had abandoned me, He was still there looking out for me.
I am still grateful for that little incident because whenever it gets really tough and it seems as if God has finally had enough of me and has left me for good, I think back on that can of peas and remind myself that He really does still care about even the smallest of my desires. I mean, really, if He took the time to remind me to buy a can of peas so that we could enjoy one dinner out of thousands, then why should I worry about whether He'll take care of everything else? Probably because I am a sinner and have to keep being reminded over and over again.