I decided to take the month of December off from writing for a variety of reasons but with a new year it’s time to get back at it.
One of the issues that Christians deal with, if not on a conscious level then certainly on the subconscious, is the seeming absence of God, especially when we need Him the most. If that describes you, don’t feel like you’re alone, all Christians have the same struggle of the soul. Even David, the Psalmist, struggled with God. You don’t have to read far into the Psalms before you encounter phrases like, Hear me when I call, O God (Psalm 4), and Give ear to my words, O Lord (Psalm 5). And then this one, Why do You stand afar off, O Lord? (Psalm 10). There’s no question that at times David felt as if God was absent.
Theologically we know that’s not the case and I suspect that David knew it as well. But practically we struggle to explain God’s silence.
Recently I read this phrase that I think can help us in our struggle; the dimness of my soul. It’s from an old hymn, Spirit of God, written in 1854 by George Croly an Anglican priest.
The hymn expresses the writers desire to experience the work of the Holy Spirit in his life and it’s in the second stanza that this phrase appears:
I ask no dream, no prophet ecstasies, no sudden rending of the veil of clay, no angel visitant, no opening skies; but take the dimness of my soul away.
I want to suggest that when we can’t see/hear/feel/sense the presence of God, the problem isn’t with God it’s with the dimness of our souls. We’re not in tune with God; we’re on a different track; we’re not on the same page – express it however you want the simple fact is there’s something that is keeping us from seeing as God sees. There’s a dimness of our souls. The Apostle Paul touched on this when he wrote now we see in a mirror dimly (1 Corinthians 13:12).
Our natural reaction when God seems to be absent is to long for God to do something miraculous – give us a dream, write it in the sky, send angels to tell us. While God has done all of those things at times in human history that’s not His normal M.O. That’s why we call them miracles. Even in the Bible God rarely spoke through dreams, angels, or prophets. Today because we have the complete canon of scripture there’s no need for God to communicate with us in extra biblical ways. He’s given us everything we need to live a godly (2 Peter 1:3).
So what’s the answer? There’s no simple answer that fits every person’s situation. It may be a need for confession of sin; a restitution of fellowship with an offended brother; time spent with God in the Word of God; prayer.
However, I think George Croly points us in the right direction in the first verse of his hymn when he wrote:
Spirit of God, descend upon my heart; wean it from earth; through all its pulses move; stoop to my weakness, mighty as thou art, and make me love thee as I ought to love.
Removing the dimness of our souls requires an overwhelming desire for the Spirit of God to take control of our lives. To surrender our every pulse to Him. To cooperate with Him in weaning our lives away from this world to a better one. That becomes true when we love Him as we ought – with all of our heart, with all of our soul, with all of our mind, and with all of our strength (Mark 12:30).
It’s true as Paul states that someday we will see Him face to face (1 Corinthians 13:12) and on that day we will know, not dimly but perfectly. But we don’t have to wait for eternity to have a clearer vision of what God is doing in our lives.
Loving God to the point of total surrender to His Word and His Will will allow you to see more clearly today. It will go a long way in removing the dimness of your soul and opening up spiritual vistas that you’ve never seen before.
Stay in the Word