These things feed my faith, epiphanies of beauty in nature, sunbursts of grace and forgiveness, the portrait of God I get in Jesus, stirring encounters with people who truly live out their faith. And these feed my doubts: God’s baffling tolerance of history’s atrocities, my unanswered prayers, sustained periods of God’s seeming absence. Meetings with God may included ecstasy and joy, or withdrawal and silence: always they include mystery.
To come to terms with this unpredictability I tell myself that every friendship has a misty side, that all relationships sometimes reveal and sometimes conceal. When I wonder why God doesn’t simply ‘show up’, I recall that when God did, especially in t Old Testament days, the appearance hardly enhanced communication: usually the person fell to the ground, flattened by blinding light. In any event, I console myself, all relationships go through hot and cold spells. Sometimes communication is verbal, sometimes silent, sometimes close, sometimes, distant. Usually, these lectures to myself fail to convince. I am left with the unsettling truth that God, not I, has ultimate control over the relationship.
Philip Yancey in Prayer: does it make any difference, page 42.