A few years ago, I literally stumbled into a time of spiritual direction with Beth Booram during a retreat I was conducting at Fall Creek Abbey. I had never had a spiritual director before and honestly didn't know exactly what I was looking for or what to expect. But after that first hour experience, I knew this time needed to be part of my spiritual formation with God. I've been meeting with Beth on a monthly basis ever since and it is nothing short of a gift each time. Through her questions, reflecting of thoughts, and validation of feelings, I am directed to hear from God. I am directed, as the new book title says, to see God's loving hand on my life so that my faith becomes sight.
What has made the timing of this spiritual direction most important has been the circumstances of my life these past two years - years of unexpected and unwanted vocational transition. Years that have included some of the most hurtful experiences I have endured. Years that aptly fit the chapter entitled "The Fertile Void," though I must admit, years that felt most like "void" to me much of the time. What I found uncanny in reading When Faith Becomes Sight is how "The Fertile Void" chapter was followed by the chapter entitled "The Face of God." It was as if I was reading my monthly times of spiritual direction all over again. The "void" in my life became fertile only when I was able to re-imagine my view of God. As Beth directed me to see God through the eyes of loving trust rather than fearful disapproval, I was able to see how God was bringing fruit in the void and how indeed it was fertile not only in the moment, but promised to be far beyond the moment. And key to my sight was an accurate understanding of the face of our God.
I am thankful not only for the times with Beth that led me to this important recognition, but also now to have this written expression to return to. I am quite certain my recent past will not be my last experience of the fertile void. And when it comes again, I am encouraged to know that the invitation within the fertile void will be the same: to once again let my faith become sight of my God calling me to loving trust.
David Bell has served in ministry for over 20 years. When a time of vocational transition unexpectedly came in 2018 that led to a move away from formal pastoral ministry, he found the void to be fertile as God directed him into two new ministry initiatives: starting Circle City Fellows, an organization that empowers young adults to integrate their faith into their work and beyond for the sake of the flourishing of Indianapolis, as well as beginning Enneagram Insight, a ministry business from which he conducts his work as an Enneagram Teacher and Mentor to individuals, couples, groups, businesses, organizations, and churches. Above all, though, as God's beloved son, David is most importantly husband to Betsie and father to John David, Hudson, and Janie.