“I am going away and I will come back to you.” // John 14:28
Lord, where are You? I whispered desolately into the darkness.
I knew objectively that the Lord was there. I could’ve offered any number of platitudes about God’s promise of presence to someone else in the same situation. Yet captive to my own circumstances, a tear-stained pillow offered little comfort and my heart wrestled against the latest developments in my present suffering.
As I hurled desperate frustrations and pleas at our seemingly-absent Lord, I sensed a palpable invitation—to pursue Him into the apparent darkness where He’d retreated, and in this place of hiding, let Him envelop me with an even deeper reality of love that defied all worldly sight, sound, or sense.
The disciples must have felt a similar confusion as they watched the Lord ascend into the heavens. He had explained before His death that He was going away, but also promised to return. Yet here He was going away again.
Many wise spiritual masters have described this truth of the spiritual life—Christ draws tangibly close one moment, then seems wholly distant the next. Consolations come and go. Difficulties ebb and flow. Prayer may be effortless one day and an all-out battle the next.
Saint Paul was no stranger to such hardships, and in our First Reading, he himself gives us the remedy: persevere (Acts 14:22).
The enemy’s goal is simple: for us to give up when God seems distant in the hardships of life—be they physical, relational, financial, or emotional.
It may indeed seem like God’s just toying with us in some sort of divine hide-and-seek.
Yet He’s really just dimming the lights, that we might tear our eyes from the world to search more attentively for Him. He’s stepping back a little, so that we might step away from our own self-sufficiency and step forward onto firmer ground—where His strong arms can lead us into ever greater security and purposeful mission.
When the Lord feels distant, press in.
When you’d rather give up, dig in your heels in pursuit.
No matter how tired you are, ask for the grace to persevere in prayer.
He will return. He promises.When the Lord feels distant, press in. // Megan Hjelmstad Click To Tweet