God’s Hiddenness and the Life of a Believer: Recognizing the Sanctifying End of Spiritual Aridity
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Within the contemporary church, a believer’s relationship with God is often gauged, at least colloquially, by how close or far away from God she feels. The assumption that underlies this dichotomy—that felt distance from God is necessarily problematic while a sense of closeness is always indicative of good spiritual health—belies an impracticable understanding of faith, not least because it often engenders a stigma for believers faced with God’s hiddenness. The role of spiritual aridity as a sanctifying consequence of this hiddenness, for the improvement of the believer’s communion with God, is a persistent theme within the Christian tradition. In this paper, I will consider several elements of this spiritual aridity and follow their prevalence within the writings of St. John of the Cross, the life of Mother Teresa, and in the scriptural witness of Job and the Psalms. Finally, I draw from these individuals a constructive manner of dealing with God’s hiddenness by persevering in a faith based upon God’s trustworthiness.