Present In the Darkness

“Experience cannot heighten the certainty of his presence any more than fear of his absence can lessen it.”~~Brennan Manning

Good morning. It is Saturday, March 22, 2014. Nine days until Opening Day.

Today is Goof Off Day. I’m all about that. That’s what weekends are for, right?

We had a men’s gathering last night, hosted by one of our church leaders. The grills were fired up, and we all brought meat. There were steaks, brats, pork, and even some bacon-wrapped jalapenos. It was a great time. Except for the part where I got asked if I was a “liberal” because I don’t like guns. Fortunately, that part didn’t last long. And to be perfectly honest, this is why I’m hesitating about going to the upcoming “men’s retreat” in May. It is being held at our worship leader’s property out at Possum Kingdom. He’s a hunter. There will be lots of guns. I’m not interested in being around guns. At this point, I’m undecided, but leaning towards not going. Besides, we always go to Scarborough Faire on Memorial Day. It’s a “family tradition.”

Christi is still hurting, but getting around. She has not gotten a confirmation, yet, on the next interview with UTSW. I’m going to go up to the Carrollton CEVA location Monday, to see what goes on there and talk about a potential position there. However, I’m still hoping for an offer from the Grapevine Verizon facility. The Carrollton location services the Raytheon account.

(Source: Christian History Institute)

It was on this date in 1758 that pastor, theologian, scientist, and educator Jonathan Edwards passed away from smallpox. His most famous sermon was probably “Sinners In the Hands of an Angry God.” His most well-known book is probably A Treatise Concerning Religious Affections, written in 1746.

There are 252 birthdays listed for this date on History Orb. Among them are Chico Marx, Marx Brothers, 1887, Ellin Berlin, wife of Irving, 1902, Louis L’Amour, author, 1908, Karl Malden, actor, 1912, William Shatner, actor, 1931, Roger Whittaker, singer, 1936, Andrew Lloyd Webber, composer, 1948, Matthew Modine, actor, 1959, and Reese Witherspoon, actress, 1976. Oh, one more. Captain James T. Kirk of the USS Enterprise, 2233. Who knew he shared a birthday with Shatner??

Here is a clip of William Shatner’s World of Warcraft commercial.


(From The Divine Hours)

Ascribe to the LORD, O families of the peoples, ascribe to the LORD glory and strength!
Ascribe to the LORD the glory due his name; bring an offering, and come into his courts!
Worship the LORD in the splendor of holiness; tremble before him, all the earth!

Psalm 96:7-9
For God alone, O my soul, wait in silence, for my hope is from him.
Psalm 62:5
Preserve me, O God, for in you I take refuge.
I say to the LORD, “You are my Lord; I have no good apart from you.”

Psalm 16:1-2
. . . looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.
Hebrews 12:2

“O God, the source of eternal light:
Shed forth your unending day upon all of us who watch for you,
that our lips may praise you, our lives may bless you,
and our worship may give you glory; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.”

Today’s reading in Reflections for Ragamuffins is “The Hidden God.”

Yesterday’s revelation of God’s presence to Catherine of Siena changed forever the way she would understand or experience that presence. “His word taught her that his presence in the soul is something deeper and holier than she could imagine or feel.” Our feelings cannot touch God; our thoughts cannot measure him. He will always, in a sense, remain hidden in our lives. Here is an important statement, especially for our culture. “Experience cannot heighten the certainty of his presence any more than fear of his absence can lessen it.” Ponder that for a few minutes. Nothing can separate us from the love of Christ. (Brennan writes that “nothing but sin” can separate us, but I disagree with that statement. My sin does not “separate me from Christ.” It definitely hinders my relationship with him, but it does not separate.) He will always be here, in the quiet stillness of our souls, even in the darkness; especially in the darkness.

And though the Lord give you the bread of adversity and the water of affliction, yet your Teacher will not hide himself anymore, but your eyes shall see your Teacher.
Isaiah 30:20

Father, make me aware of your presence, even in the darkness of my soul. Help me to know and believe that you are present all the time, even when there is darkness in my soul, even when I do not feel your present. And just because I might happen to feel your present does not mean that you are more present than you were when I did not feel it. This is a precious truth. We rely too heavily on experience, Father. Let me no longer look to experience, but look to faith; the faith of the certainty of your presence in my spirit, all the time. Help me to celebrate this presence, daily.

I pray for the remainder of this day. As we go out and about, doing the things that we need to do, I pray for safety and peace. I pray for our worship time this evening, that it might bring glory to you and peace to our spirits. Teach us your ways, that we, as a community of faith, might walk in your truth. Teach us to be and make disciples.

Your grace is sufficient.

Grasp the truth that God is always present, even in times of darkness. The fact that you feel him or the lack of that feeling has absolutely no bearing on this truth.

Grace and peace, friends.

2 thoughts on “Present In the Darkness

  1. Jeff, I can identify with this. There are certainly times when I have a greater awareness of God’s presence in my life, and a greater connection with my spiritual self. I have mostly ascribed these ups and downs of feeling to my own busy-ness and to the reality (at least in my life experience) that I have “seasons” of being more attuned to God in thought and deed. Not that I am outwardly different…I still attend church and behave the same when I am in a dry season as when I am more attuned to spiritual things. But I know the difference internally. I hope that God understands that this is not a deliberate choice on my part, but something I notice, usually over a period of time, when the demands of my life have temporarily disrupted my priorities and focus.

    I assume this is common to the great majority of believers, as we’re all human. You seem to do a great job of keeping focused! Thanks for helping me to think more deeply, and to be honest with myself about these issues. Blessings! ~Sheila

    1. Thank you for your comments, Sheila. I’m not as focused as it appears, I fear. 🙂 Thank you for reading. Blessings to you and yours.

Comments are closed.