We speak sometimes of the ‘desert’ and for many of us that is how it remains – a word. But for some there is an encounter with the emptiness and loss which accompanies the driest of places – where faith is a matter of holding on to the unseen, trusting that there will be light again.
John Pritchard’s honesty in confronting why faith sometimes breaks down is that of a good Spiritual Director. He approaches the reasons for these times of loss with enormous sympathy: whether natural disasters or personal tragedy, the cataclysmic ‘dark night of the soul’, the passage of time-without-nourishment. Or the realisation that the God we believed we knew as children is not the One we can now reach out to.
The shock of discovering the loss of this sense of a living God is all the greater if we seem to have lost our faith – and abruptly risk losing the community that is our church. Some cling desperately to the ‘childish’ God for fear of a void that suddenly seems all too real.
Truly alongside us, accompanying those, too, whose faith is at a low ebb, the author’s compassionate book shares his experience in recovering that earlier tide of energetic hope.
Becoming aware that others have – without condemnation – come to this point before you, is in itself a way to recover hope. Prichard’s stories show how all things do pass – even darkness is not total or permanent – as the unrecognised sense of God’s presence seeps into our consciousness. And it is beyond the void that we find the God we have longed for: who waits for us.
For the exploration of the desert is balanced by the exploration of fresh ground: and in reconnecting with God we are given an extra perspective – where we have been will illuminate where we are now able to go.
Reviewed by Mrs Lavender Buckland, LLM
Published by SPCK, ‘God Lost and Found’ is normally priced at £9.99. Quote this review to order a copy at the special price of £8.99 and POST FREE from Sarum College Bookshop until April 30th 2012. See main page for contact details. Cheques should be made payable to ‘Sarum College Bookshop’.