Surely our greatest comfort on this side of eternity is the Lord’s constant presence with us. He is literally right there with us, all of the time. Yet there are times, especially when things are difficult, that we struggle to discern His presence. Life might not be going the way we want it. Prayers may not be answered the way we had hoped for, and we can start to feel as if He has abandoned us. But, in reality, He is still right there, whether we feel it or not.
Blairmore’s neighbour owns two beautiful horses, ‘Clydesdales’, I am told. One evening I walked over to their field. The sky was overcast, and everything was dark. In the darkness I went up to the gate and they both came over to me. I could hear them as they walked. My nose detected that unique horsey smell. I could feel them close and even stroke them. But despite their closeness, it took some time before I was able to see them. My eyes had to get used to the dark and it took a minute or so before I was able to see their outline. Another minute later I could see yet more detail. For me, these few minutes with those horses on a dark winter’s evening were a special time.
As I walked back home, I felt the Lord tell me that sometimes it is like that with Him. He can be so close, yet we struggle to see Him. We might not be hearing His voice at that time. This can happen so easily in times of sickness or times of distress. But He is right there. Our spiritual eyes might need some time to get used to a different (unexpected) set of circumstances. It may take time before we realise His closeness. But, take heart, the Lord is always at hand.
In her book ‘Tramp for the Lord’ Corrie ten Boom recounts an experience during the time that she was travelling the world to tell people about Jesus. He would always tell her where to go, and, as she moved out in obedience, He would give her further instructions. She heard His voice so clearly and He did so many supernatural things in those times.
But one day, when she arrived at the place where He had told her to go, there was nothing, no voice, no instructions, and seemingly no help. That night she slipped, fell and broke her hip. When she asked God what was going on, He gave her nothing. This left her confused and struggling. After six weeks God finally spoke to her and told Corrie that over the last weeks she had been ‘in the shadow of the Almighty’ (Psalm 91:1). His presence had been so close that she had hardly recognised Him. He had not needed to speak. He had simply been just right there beside her, quietly. Sometimes the times of deepest intimacy can be the times when we are quietly in one another’s presence.
Prayer: I thank You Father for Your presence in my life. When times come when I don’t perceive You, please help me to trust that You truly are right there with me. Thank You for never leaving me. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
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