This is part of an ongoing series during the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic. To engage further in the #QuarantineSoulCare series, click here.
I have a pastor friend who was almost killed in a horrible car accident a few years ago. As he tells it, he was fortunate to be alive but was sadly paralyzed from the neck down.
In the hospital, the doctors place him in one of those sandwich type contraptions that would allow his whole body to be turned over to prevent bed sores and encourage his otherwise poor circulation Often this meant he would be left, face down, staring at the floor for hours, unable to move or even turn his head.
On one such evening, as he waited patiently for a nurse to come and rotate the bed, he sensed a presence enter the room. …
My friend saw nothing out of the ordinary, no bright light, no outline of an angelic figure. Only the certainty that in an extraordinary sense, Jesus had come to be with him. He had come in answer to my friend’s angry prayers of lament. …
“I realized at that moment,” he said, “that what I wanted most was not Jesus’ provision of my healing. That desire had totally evaporated. All I wanted was His Presence.”
“I will do anything,” he cried. “Just don’t leave!”
What we need most, though few of us will ever realize it with the depth and intensity of my friend, is never what we think we need. What we were created at the depths of our souls to need is only the Presence of God. …
Lament is the path that takes us to the place where we discover that there is no complete answer to pain and suffering, only Presence. The language of lament gives a meaningful form to our grief by providing a vocabulary for our suffering and then offering it to God as worship. Our questions and complaints will never find individual answers. … The dangerous, disturbing, comforting Presence … is the true answer to all our questions and hopes.
The One who died for us—who was raised to life for us!—is in the presence of God at this very moment sticking up for us. Do you think anyone is going to be able to drive a wedge between us and Christ’s love for us? There is no way!
–Romans 8:31-39, The Message