Presence and Doing

kylo-781057-unsplashI’m excited to be back. I was going to wait an entire month, but writing is like breathing to me. Plus my favorite prophet just shared this with me.

I will satisfy the weary, and all who are faint I will replenish. (Jeremiah 31.25 NRSV)

I just flipped over to the first chapter of Jeremiah, and I noticed that I had underlined verse eight.

Do not be afraid of them, for I am with you to deliver you, says the LORD.

God’s presence sounds like a good platitude doesn’t it? It’s not. It’s real, life changing, and even if we don’t feel it or think it exists His power is at work.

Paul’s thorn in the flesh might have been bad eyesight, but when he asked God to remove the thorn in the flesh God said no. I’ve asked God to remove my depression, but alas He is either saying no or wait. I don’t know, and that’s ok because I know in Whom I am able, and I am persuaded that He is able to keep me till He reveals Himself again. That seems kind of funny to me because we talk about Jesus coming back, and I suppose for a time He did leave, but I’ve never known life without the Holy Spirit. He’s always been here. He hasn’t been here like the Son of man was in the first century, but my confidence has always been in the fact that He is here.

Presence is powerful, whether that presence is divine or mortal. What we do when we are present is important too. My brother Jason taught me that. We make bad choices don’t we? Just because we can do something doesn’t mean we should. God could flood the earth again couldn’t He? He doesn’t because He said He never would again. Oh, there’s been floods, but the entire earth hasn’t been flooded. My own city was flooded back in 2010. I was in Orlando at the time watching it on Facebook, so it was surreal, but the nonetheless my wonderful city fought back from the devastation of that flood.

And I continue to fight back from the devastation of depression. You continue to fight the battles that you fight, and that’s the reason this blog came back. I want to offer hope to both of us. 1 John 4.18 says, “There is no fear in love, but perfect love drives out fear because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.” My sin, like King David’s, is always before me (Psalm 51). Psalm is an amazing book of hope and lamentation that has given me words on countless occasions.

I don’t know if I wrote this last night, but we cannot change anything if we don’t face it, and the first place to start is admitting we are powerless to change it. Sin is such a powerful force of evil that it manipulates us into thinking we’ve done nothing wrong. If we’ve done nothing wrong then Jesus’ death, burial and resurrection is for naught, and I’m just spinning my wheels here “giving” us both hope. But I know that isn’t true. The evidence is overwhelming, and as the church brings more and more unbelievers into its fold the evidence is climbing that Jesus is who says He is.

There are more martyrs today than there were in the first century. People are laying it all on the line for the One Who laid it all on the line for them. This is not a pipe dream that ends in death. Death is merely the beginning. Does death hurt like hell? You know the answer to that. But the fear of death for Jesus followers can be literally removed if we put our faith in Him. It’s a simple choice that will change your life.

Blindness, depression, cancer, dementia and any other illness may not be removed, but there will come a day when none of those illnesses will be part of our reality. Our new bodies will not be subject to illness, fatigue or hunger, and the One Who created us will dwell with us for eternity.

I hope you’ll join me in believing that.

Grace and peace.

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