For a few weeks, life was a dull gray. Moments of teaching were full and bright and packed to the brim with busy mental engagement. And then – I’d be home, and the silence would come crashing in again with all the tormenting thoughts that can weigh so heavy on a soul.
I didn’t want to give in to them. I knew all the right answers. I knew the right antidotes. And yet still, a darkness seemed to be hovering at the fringes of my soul – a darkness that threatened me with deep aloneness.
I knew I could never lose my salvation – that I am secure in Christ – yet, I was so frightened at the lack of faith I seemed to feel in my soul: that which has always been the most beautiful and precious thing to me. Where was Jesus in the midst of all this? Why couldn’t I feel his nearness like I’d always been able to in the past?
And then, one early morning as I pondered my way through John 14, the words of Christ seem to jump out at me and hit me square in the heart –
“Jesus said to him, ‘Have I been with you so long, and you still do not know me, Philip?’” (John 14:9)
The disciples wanted more of a sign and then “it would be enough” – not realizing that they had the greatest sign in all of history standing right in front of them – God in human flesh.
Foolishly, I had wanted more of a sign so it would “be enough.” I wanted my prayers answered the way I wanted them answered. I wanted to know I was not alone. And my answers had been right in front of me all along. I felt like Jesus was asking me – “Have I really been with you so long – have we not walked together since you were age 5 – twenty-five years of Me teaching you My love – and still you don’t know me?”
I have so much to learn still. And my Abba, my Papa, is so patient and gentle with me, just like He was with His disciples. He reminds me that though He has left our physical presence, He has never left us alone. He has sent us the Spirit of Truth, the Helper, who helps lift our eyes back up to the Father when we get stuck in the mire of sin and lies.
I feel like every day I have to learn anew the reminder of His love – and the reminder that no matter what my struggle is, He will grant me His strength to fight against it. And in the midst of the struggle, there is peace.
Peace that is bigger than the darkness.
Peace that comes despite our circumstances.
Peace that drowns out all the familiar lies.
Peace that came to me through a crown of thorns and a betrayer’s kiss.
Peace that points me to my one-day forever with my King.
And when that one-day forever comes, and I get to at last look at my Savior face to face, it will be so familiar. His eyes will hold all the burdens I ever cast on Him – all my anxieties and fears, all my loneliness and tears, all my longing and waiting – all of it will be drowned in the depth of love shining back to me in the One who never gave up on me.
He’s teaching me the beauty of His love every day – reminding me of who He is when I so quickly forget.
And I’m slowly learning that with Him, I am in the safest, most loving place I will ever be.
Soli Deo gloria.