Friday 12/6/2013 7:43 AM
Yesterday I heard that a family from my church is going through a rough time since their return home from Minnesota where their son had a bone marrow transplant. He is still having trouble with an infection and progress is slow. Even though they are in their own home they are still isolated because of his fragile immune system and after the last four months of treatment they are more than likely at the end of their rope.
My devotional theme this week is God’s absence, and I imagine they are experiencing that at this time of their lives. My psalm this week, Psalm 13, probably could have been written by them. “How long, Lord? Will you forget me forever? How long will you hide your face from me? How long must I wrestle with my thoughts and day after day have sorrow in my heart? How long will my enemy triumph over me? Look on me and answer, Lord my God. Give light to my eyes, or I will sleep in death, and my enemy will say, ‘I have overcome him,’ and my foes will rejoice when I fall.”
I am also going through a time when God seems absent but I think that is because my time alone with God has been sporadic, even non-existent, of late. I have been consumed with my work and my schedule this semester is not one that encourages an early morning time of reflection and meditation. However, this morning I spent time praying for them during my run and during my devotional time, asking that God would reveal himself to them in some way.
It is fifty-eight degrees in the house this morning and I decided to make some Cream of Wheat. I am eating it as I write and I can feel its warmth going into my body warming it from the inside out. I want them to experience the presence of God in the same way, as a conviction deep within that God is with them and that he will see them through to the end.
My reading today includes an excerpt from The Presence of God by Elisabeth-Paule Labat. She writes, “God is in fact always passing into the everyday and often colorless fabric of the life of each one of us. This everyday experience may even be the sphere into which he prefers to introduce his grace. The slightest event in our lives and the least discernible movement of his grace point to the passing of his justice and mercy into our lives and to his desire to appeal to our faithfulness and to draw us toward him. He passes in this way among us in order to fashion us into his form and likeness and to perfect us in his love. Sometimes he does this slowly and silently, acting like drops of water that take so many years to hollow out the rock, and with so much discretion that we are hardly aware of it. At other times, he acts so quickly that he takes us by surprise. … If we are to perceive the Lord’s passing and be aware of its significance every time it happens, we must become very sensitive and intuitive and be quietly open to his presence and faithful to it. If we are really listening, we shall know that the one who is eternally young never passes in the same way more than once. He is inexhaustibly inventive.”
I want God to pass into their lives but I have a feeling they are at a point where they cannot sense the slightest events or the least discernible movement of his Spirit. The slow dripping of his Spirit is more than likely annoying to them rather than encouraging. I pray that God will break into their lives and surprise them quickly, so that his presence will be unmistakable. In the meantime, I pray that they will be given the grace they need to walk the difficult road on which they find themselves.