“As God is one,” Newman says, “so the impression which He gives us of Himself is one.” It is an impression of presence, of “I am with you,” of companionship on the journey of life. It is the impression we have when something touches the deep loneliness in us, when “heart speaks to heart,” as Newman says, when music is “from the heart,” as Beethoven says, “may it go to the heart.” Then it seems we are not alone. Then it seems God is with us. Our life is a journey in time and God is our companion on the way.
There are times, though when the impression of presence is not there, when it seems therefore God is not there. We go through something we didn't think God would allow, a testing of the heart, the kind of thing we pray against, “And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.” Then it can seem we have encountered another side of God, a side turned away from us like the other side of the moon. If we hold to God nonetheless, we come to realize it is not another side of God we are experiencing so much as the essential ordeal of a journey with God. Every journey has its ordeal, according to storytelling, an ordeal by fire, by water, by sheer endurance, and a journey with God has its ordeal too, the ordeal of the human heart, the trial where the secrets of the heart are revealed. If I come upon that ordeal, I may find that my heart is divided, that it is not entirely with God. Still, I do not thereby fail the test. For I can bring my divided heart to God to be made whole. I can bring all my heart to God, although it is a heart in pieces, a broken heart.