The Group Monthly Letter September, 2012.

by Geoff Hall on September 28, 2012

Disturbing God’s Sleep

Mentoring support for word, image and performance arts


What do you do when God falls asleep, or seems to lose interest in you?


Song #22 tells that the songwriter could not sleep and kept complaining to God, please note, as a plaintiff and not as defendant.


“My God, my God why have you forsaken me? Why are you so far from saving me?”

The other songs of desolation, of abandonment, convey the same experience. (#44, 77, 88) Song 88 is particularly painful, as the singer is deserted by lover and friends and is left befriended by the darkness. This however is not the consequence of a dissolute life. We’d love it to be, because then someone is easy to judge.

It is however the lot of the restless plaintiff and that should direct us to give God a bad night’s sleep. (Look also at the story of the “importune friend”, as the KJV puts it). That sense of abandonment is not something we hear much of in institutional circles. We hear plenty about Jesus being our best friend, our buddy who always delivers what we want; namely the demands of our hearts. I know many who struggle with this in church life and are not taught how to cope when this feeling of abandonment is experienced and so they end up walking away, when they should just be walking away from those institutional circles and organisations. The umbilical needs to be severed.


Man of Sorrows

Georges Rouault "Ecce Dolor"

We need a mature spirituality as artists if we are to cope with the seasons of the soul which are stigmatised, marked by attrition and abandonment. As devastating as this feels, it is not because of lust or pride, avarice or gluttony, but because we chose to walk with God in the cool of the evening.

What I am writing about is of course paradoxical, we have the intimate presence of the Spirit and yet, if I can put this personally, when God ignores me, others strangely feel quite justified in doing so as well! As artists we all know the rather arbitrary rejection of our peers, but when this continues over seasons, we begin to see, as with our songwriters (noted above), that God is very clearly grabbing a little shut eye. My complaint is not to my peers, but to God.


It should be our resolve to understand this seasonal fluctuation and when God is clearly fast asleep, to disturb that sleep by being a pain in the backside (i.e. ‘importune’). We need to persevere, not fall away; we need a resolve to continue, despite God ignoring us.


Our resolve is to persist, to be a disturbance until God relents. This is what is needed in days such as these. However, because Mother Church has blatantly tried to tame God, we either get what we want or walk away. So I’m offering a different spiritual discipline, one of disturbing the slumber of God – as if our life depended on it. And it does!

Peace and Love,


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