Loneliness is one of the greatest heart-pains people report when it comes to their relationship with others and with God.
We could look enviously at Mary and Joseph, the shepherds who could see Jesus in the stable in Bethlehem. Or the Magdalene. Peter and the apostles. The blind man on the side of the road calling for the Lord’s attention. Even Paul.
They could see and interact with Jesus. Seeing His eyes, being in His presence, even feeling His touch and hearing His voice…it must have been so easy to feel God’s love communicated through Jesus.
Jesus’ promise to Thomas that those are more blessed who believe without seeing doesn’t make Him feel any closer. Doesn’t satisfy our need to feel Jesus close in our hour of need.
One night, bowed low in the dark and yet familiar place of our convent chapel, I prayed. Jesus asks me, Can’t you see me? I am here. I have always been wherever you are.
Pages flipping. I know I’ll find the words Jesus said to someone else comforting. Someone. Else. He and I, a popular book of spirituality. Jesus on July 17, 1939 to Gabrielle Bossis: “Is it so difficult to talk with Me? Everything that interests you, every little detail of your life, tell me about it. I’ll listen with such attention and joy.”
Gently Jesus urges me to close the book…. Child, I spoke to her 75 years ago, but tonight I want to speak to you.
But why can’t I know. Hear. See.
I remember moments of deep relational presence for me. My 25th anniversary of profession. The success of a project that restored in me a sense of belonging. A graduation. A prayer experience. Relive the joy and gratitude. Feel the warmth of appreciation deep within. Jesus, I am making a heart-request. Can you show me where you were in these experiences?
I wait. Enter within myself.
I see you, Jesus. I see what I missed then. You were standing beside me, rejoicing in these little details of my life, events that meant so much to me. You stand there smiling as if you were personally giving me a very cool gift and wanted to see if I liked it. I feel you now next to me, Jesus. Are you there always?
“I call you my friends. I am with you always.” (Words of Jesus recorded at the Last Supper and at His ascension into heaven.)
And where were you when I was hurt? Child, I had made everything okay, before it even happened. Look at Me.
I shift a little bit closer. Maybe this is what C.S. Lewis meant when he said: “Look for yourself, and you will find in the long run only hatred, loneliness, despair, rage, ruin, and decay. But look for Christ and you will find Him, and with Him everything else thrown in.”
Every detail. Every hope. Every sorrow. His. Only for His eyes. Offered to Him to see, to hold. to care for, to be with. With. The secret for enjoying the security of Jesus’ presence.
Try this yourself. What event(s) in your life do you look back on as special evidence of God’s love and care for you? Relive them. Reexperience the gratitude and appreciation. The more you reconnect with memories that elicit gratitude and appreciation the more you will find satisfaction in your relationships with others and with God.
I will remember the deeds of the LORD;
yes, I will remember your miracles of long ago.