I know... it's been a long while since I've blogged. I guess I decided to take the summer off... I just didn't realize it until the summer had gone by without any motivation to post anything.
This summer, there was a lot of fumbling in the curtain... finding it difficult to perceive the presence of Christ in any sort of tangible way. In the Immanuel prayer process, I've been "stuck" all summer in a childhood place... locked out of a dark room and Jesus is keeping the key from me. Perhaps I'm not ready for what's behind that door. In any case, the forward motion and the deep healing I had been experiencing have stalled out. And I became suddenly aware of how much I had grown to depend on that "experience" of His presence in the past two years. So much so, that when I lost that way of connecting, I felt as if Christ was no longer with me.
Although I believe Christ means for us to know His presence in tangible ways, I also recognize that part of what happened was that I had turned signs of His presence into a subtle form of idolatry. I recently re-read part of "Dark Night of the Soul" by St. John of the Cross (excerpt found in Devotional Classics). It became clear to me that, once again, I had 'misused spiritual consolation' and it seemed that God had taken away my consolation in order to purify my soul.
"God perceives the imperfections within us, and because of his love for us, urges us to grow up. His love is not content to leave us in our weakness, and for this reason he takes us into a dark night. He weans us from all of the pleasures by giving us dry times and inward darkness. In doing so he is able to take away all these vices and create virtues within us. Through the dark night pride becomes humility, greed become simplicity, wrath becomes contentment, luxury becomes peace, gluttony becomes moderation, envy becomes joy, and sloth becomes strength. No soul will ever grow deep in the spiritual life unless God works passively in that soul by means of the dark night."
In the midst of this 'dark night,' I was given the task of proclaiming the presence of Christ with us, as He promised in Matt. 28:20. And here, I found an obvious sign of Christ's presence with me... In His wisdom and tenderness, He forced me to wrestle with what He meant by "I will be with you always" even while I was in the midst of wondering where He had gone right now.
His presence still isn't tangible like it was before this summer... but perceptions will never measure the reality of His presence... instead, the reality of His presence shapes perception. (I think I must have read that somewhere... but I can't remember where).