God’s Presence, Our Sight
One of the hardest thing for new parents is their separation with the newborn child. From the first day at home, a separation is beginning… the baby is sleeping in a small cradle, most often right next to mom. Within a few weeks, the baby will begin sleeping in another room. And while this is hard for parents in a unique way, the baby has their own existential fears! Where is the one who takes all my pain away? Where is the one who chases loneliness from my life? Where is the one who is my provider? The baby must make the realization that just because mom or dad is not in the room does not mean that they are not there.
I just finished the novel Silence by Shusaku Endo. A work of historical fiction, it is set in the time of Roman-Catholic missionaries evangelizing the people of Japan in the 17th Century. At this time in Japan, Christianity has been made illegal and practicing it is punishable by imprisonment and torture, even death. The novel explores the presence of God and His call on our lives in such a harrowing time. How long could you and I hang on in such a difficult situation, especially with the face of God seemingly so distant from our struggle?
I purposely chose to finish this novel during Lent. The church’s season of Lent is one of self-reflection, repentance and at times, feelings of being all alone. While most of us will never suffer like these Japanese Christians must have, we all can identify with wondering how close God is to us in our suffering. In Isaiah 62, God promises His people that they shall have a glorious future, with lines like verse 5b, “as the bridegroom rejoices over the bride, so shall your God rejoice over you.” But the yoked life is a long one and not every day is as joyous as the wedding day. Jesus understands this and it is why he wraps up both the great promise of joy with the reality of the adversity of being a disciple in John 16:33, “I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In this world, you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.”
Do you doubt Our Father’s presence in your life at times? If you are His son or daughter in faith, He is with you. My prayer for you during this Lenten season is that you will consciously make the journey, no matter how lonely it may feel in the valleys. Our God and His Church is with you and you are never truly alone. Trust in the eyes your faith gives you and you will (sooner or later) realize all the promises of Our God.