“Above all, it is not necessary that we should have any unexpected, extraordinary experiences in meditation. This can happen, but if it does not, it is not a sign that the meditation period has been useless … Above all, we must not allow them to keep us from adhering to our meditation period with great patience and fidelity. It is, therefore, not good for us to take too seriously the many untoward experiences we have with ourselves in meditation. It is here that our old vanity and our illicit claims upon God may creep in by a pious detour, as if it were our right to have nothing but elevating and fruitful experiences, and as if the discovery of our own inner poverty were quite below our dignity.” — life together, Bonhoeffer
Bonhoeffer offers such a helpful reality. When we spend time in meditation — making space for spirtiual connectedness with God through personal prayer, intercession, and scripture — our barometer does not have to be excitement or dynamism. Nor does it need to be immediate understanding.
In the same way we relate to another human being, with varying levels of engagement, understanding, and energy, our relating to God is much the same. While it takes continual engagement and commitment, the fruit of a relationship is seen over time. We understand one another over time. We grow in the knowledge of God over time. Each individual experience amounts to a much greater connectedness.
I can remember realizing this in practice for the first time. I immediately noticed the pressure to make this one count during time spent in prayer and in scripture begin to dissipate. And I was left with my desire for God and his desire for me — a beautiful foundation for relationship.