Jesus’ presence – when it seems absent

By Dave Henning / October 1, 2019

“When Jesus’ presence seems absent in the midst of my panic, I find that canned spiritual answers and my usual spiritual disciplines, things that helped me feel connected, no longer work. . . .  I find that instead of being still, I end up trying really freaking hard to be grateful and peaceful and patient.  Mostly, I feel like the bull and God’s presence is the china shop.”- Aubrey Sampson

In Chapter 8 (“Learning to Say ‘Yet’: Seeking God’s Presence in Our Pain”) of The Louder Song, Aubrey Sampson starts with a story of how her dad taught her to drive a boat.  His basic advice: You don’t need to panic, but you also need to panic.”

Consequently, Aubrey decided to take the ‘panic’ part of her dad’s advice off the boat. And into her own soul.  But, even though Aubrey tries not to panic, she panics.  Yes, the author senses something about her lament journey suffering.  Yet, a part of her still lives anticipating the next tree trunk in the water.  Above all, underneath her panic, she really misses Jesus.

However, when we experience a sense of God’s presence, our experience strengthens, reassures, comforts, and heals us in a powerful way.  What happens, though, when we sense the apparent loss of Jesus’ presence?  As the author states, it’s downright devastating.

Describing his grief over his wife Joy, C. S. Lewis wrote the following in A Grief Observed:

“You are like the drowning man who can’t be helped because he clutches and grabs.  Perhaps your own reiterated cries deafen you to the voice you hoped to hear. . . .  Perhaps your own person temporarily destroys the capacity.”

In conclusion, Aubrey reminds us, the Christian life must be lived in community.  Because you can’t conquer this on your own.

Today’s question: What Bible verses help you when Jesus’ presence seems absent?  Please share.

Tomorrow’s blog: “Limitedness – Jesus embraced His”

About the author

Dave Henning

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