What to do when all seems pointless and meaningless?
It can be helpful to put a name or label to the exact nature of the suffering of the moment. If we can name it, as the saying goes, we can claim it and indeed tame it and aim it.
Darkness and dryness in prayer – also known as desolation – can be attributable to many external and internal causes. Whatever the source it is idle and time wasted in speculating what brought you or me to this point of suffering. What is important is how we use it. Once we have decided or recognised how we are feeling or what sums up what we are experiencing, we must accept it as God’s will and then apply the LITMUS test. See below.
Step One: Which of these adequately or best describes what I feel at the present moment?
(take your time over this part)
A – anger
B – boredom
C – confusion
D - Devastation
E - Energy depletion
F – frustration
G – gloom
H – Hassled
I – Inner turmoil
J – Joyless
K – a Killjoy
L – Lonely, listless
M –monotony of life
N – Negativity
O – overwhelmed
Q – Questioning God and everything
R – rudderless
S – sadness
T – tortured, tearful
U – uncertain
V – visionless
W – weary
X – unknown
Y –yearning for God and meaning to return
Z – zero –don’t feel anything
We are full of questions at this point.
Why are these thoughts and moods going through my mind?
Why are these feelings so persistent?
Is it something I did or neglected to do that has me suffering so?
What can I do now?
What I ought to be doing?
Does this time serve any purpose?
Is there something to wave them away?
Is there an end in sight?
Am I a fraud smiling on the outside and in agony inside?
What does the Lord want of me at these moments?
I lack purpose, direction, am at a standstill. Nothing I do seems to change anything. I can’t distract my way out. There is no bottle, food or compulsive behaviour or appetite that can fill the void I feel.
This is where you are...how you got here is not as important as how you get out.
A man drowning doesn’t care at the moment if he was pushed in, slipped, fell in or deliberately jumped in to the water or got tired swimming! Help and rescue are the only things on his mind. God is on His way or is sending someone. You have to hang on tight and be patient in the darkness you feel.
In a word, surrender. LITMUS means – Living In the Moment Utterly Surrendering. At times of prayer when there is such panic and prolonged and even agonising uncertainty, you are undergoing the LITMUS test of prayer.
This is traditionally called THE SACRAMENT OF THE PRESENT MOMENT
Surrender to God, He is purifying you, pruning you. This is His work in you, to make you stronger, to endure whatever comes. You are being tested. This is Love’s purifying flame.
‘Be still before the Lord, waiting patiently for Him’.