One of our great difficulties in life is that we try to understand Christ and relate to Him in terms of time and space.
When we talk about being near someone or looking at someone, we think in terms of our eyes and ears and distance. But time and space are only relevant to us as finite beings. God is everywhere and feels all, which is why the psalmist declares, “One cannot hide from Him anywhere, He is closer to us than our own being.” If that’s the case, we must conclude that our seeing the Lord has to do with our spirit, our inner man, rather than our natural eyes. That’s the reason Paul, in his incredible prayer for the believers, prayed that “the eyes of [their] understanding [may be] enlightened; that [they] may know what is the hope of His calling . . .” (Ephesians 1:18).
I remember when I was in seminary. The blessings were many, and I am grateful for the godly professors I learned from. Those years were spent researching and gaining knowledge of the Scriptures. I studied Greek and Hebrew, philosophy and history, ancient culture and missions. It’s an honest thing to say I was a very bright, very good student. But somehow, at the end of all my learning, spiritually I was dying.
I lost Jesus. I studied, researched and learned all about Him, but somehow I lost Him. It was at this same time, toward the end of my senior year, that I began pastoring a small church and preaching four times a week! That is not an exaggeration to prove my point. You may not hear this from other preachers, but honestly, I was losing Jesus even in the midst of much ministry. Sure, here and there I saw Him. Here and there I embraced Him. Here and there I wept before Him. But it was not a consistent thing. And I grew weary, wanting to give up the ministry the Lord gave me.
The truth is, we can learn all the doctrines and be fundamental in our convictions yet still live with emptiness. Our survival and hope are not based on how much we know or how much we can do. Our survival is in the person of Jesus.
I look back now and thank God for the few months of that “dark night” of my soul. It was during that time that I began to pursue and embrace the Lord again. I began living again and loving Him each day. He was no longer distant and far off, but near and continually before my eyes. I realized then, and still do today, that I have only one need. That need is Jesus.
It says in 2 Corinthians 3:18, “But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord.” In the Word we see the face of the Lord Jesus Christ. And as we gaze upon Him we see the nature, the character and the presence of the Lord. As we gaze upon Him and meditate on Him from the depth of our hearts, the Holy Spirit within us begins to transform us and change us from within. Our attitude changes, our feelings change, our evaluations change and our decisions change. Our external circumstances may stay the same, but inside we are transformed. Our eyes have been opened, and we see our risen Savior. It’s no longer despair and melancholy and hopelessness—but rather hope, strength and confidence that come from the Lord. It is the one who seeks that finds. It is the one who knocks that the door is opened to.
Click here, to read more articles on Patheos by Dr. KP Yohannan Metropolitan.