Thursday, February 16, 2017

Not Yet

Now Jesus had not yet entered the village, but was still at the place where Martha had met him. 
John 11: 30

In my search for lessons about surrendering to God’s will, this passage speaks to me about a very interesting aspect of our relationship with Christ. It has to do with the fact that sometimes Jesus stays put and waits for us to come to Him…to drop whatever we are doing and just come to Him... to surrender it all, and just come to Him.

That’s tough in so many levels.

First, the idea of not sensing His presence terrifies me. When I am at a moment of crisis, pain, fear, loneliness, loss, anxiety and all those emotions that crush us, the only One who can pull me out of that pit is Jesus. His presence is vital to my survival. The thought of not experiencing His nearness is devastating. God’s plan, however, sometimes includes moments of decreased sensory awareness. But it is just that. It is our awareness what falters because He is always near. He is ever-present. And He has a special place in His heart for those who suffer:

Psalm 34:18

The LORD is near to the brokenhearted And saves those who are crushed in spirit.

Often, however, pain could be so noisy that it mutes the voice of God. Pain could be so overwhelming that it may swallow us into a vacuum of loneliness and sadness that it is impossible for us to see outside of our circumstances. Shame could also be a factor. Guilt can come down like a gable of judgement accusing us. That’s the lies of the enemy, though, bombarding us with a message of inadequacy that screams at us “you are not worthy of being in the presence of God.” Then, we retrieve even more…in our hour of most need of His nearness we hide or we simply walk away.

I want to remember, the next time this happens, that those feelings are nothing but the enemy’s attempt to deceive me and manipulate me. Instead, I want to remember to go to the Word the second I begin to feel like Christ is not with me. I want to remember in those moments of trial that:

Psalm 145:18

The LORD is near to all who call upon Him, To all who call upon Him in truth.

I want to remember that if I…

James 4:8

Draw near to God and He will draw near to you…

Next time we will explore another level in which a diminished awareness of the nearness of Christ is utterly hard to withstand. Until then, let us always recall the mercies and promises of Our Lord, which are true and new every morning and every day.

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