Behold Your God — Week Twelve, Day Three

16 Aug

Every Christian from time to time feels keenly the absence of God. This is sometimes associated with the idea of “the dark night of the soul” a condition in which the heavens seem silent and God seems distant. We can not control God. His presence and power are His to give and to withhold. We can be confident that His giving and withholding are not capricious, but are in line with His character.

When we are longing for the presence of God but He seems absent, there are two things we can do to address this situation: yield and pursue. We yield through submitting our whole heart to God. Is there any sin area I am clinging to, anything unwilling to let go? Is my attitude one of practical atheism or practical deism? Until I look at my life and yield to Jesus, I will likely miss much of the presence of God in my life. Second, pursue God. One of the great dangers of the right emphasis on grace is that it can be misunderstood as a doorway to passivity. Because I am justified by His grace and because His grace empowers us for living, I don’t need to do anything. But this is wrong. The Bible is clear that I am to abide with the Lord, I am to seek Him, I am to obey His commands. I can’t do any of that in a real way apart from His power, but I am called to pursue God.

Having yielded my heart and given myself to the pursuit of God, then I must receive what God gives with gratitude. Whether God does what I hope for or not, I must receive what He gives with gratitude. If I do not have this attitude of settled contentment, I show that I have set my hope on something else, and in effect have made that thing my goal. So if I seek God, hoping my marriage will improve and then my marriage doesn’t improve and I express anger and frustration with God, I have revealed that I am trying to find my life in marriage rather than God. God Himself is the goal. Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength. You can’t get much more comprehensive than the greatest commandment. And the flip side of this command is “You shall have no other gods before me.” Our lives should be lives of surrender and faith, growing in love for God all along. God loves to reveal Himself to those who seek Him, so we can have confidence that His presence will be with us if we walk in these things. Most of us do not experience the presence of God because we do not yield and pursue.

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