October 19, 2011

Thine Own Dear Presence to Cheer and to Guide

 Image: "God and Adam", Michelangelo


This line---"thine own dear presence to cheer and to guide"--is one of my favorites from this great hymn, Great Is Thy Faithfulness.

What more could I ask of God than to consistently know and experience His presence to cheer and to guide me?

I take comfort in knowing God will guide me as I follow Him, but do I take equal comfort in knowing God will cheer me up along the way?

One of my favorite films is Ingmar Bergman's Winter Light  In one of the film's most moving scenes, a woman who loves a spiritually struggling pastor confronts him (in a letter, visualized on screen) and tells him she never believed in his god, but only went along with his faith for the sake of keeping her relationship with him.

As she explains herself further, this character states she grew up in a home without any awareness of God, and that her family was happy together, supportive of each other, and joyful of life. In contrast, she describes how often many (too many) Christians seem constantly disturbed, disoriented by daily life, on the defensive, and generally unhappy with their situations...waiting for the end to come, to be removed from Earth, to be transported to Heaven where all will be well.

It's a thought that gives pause. Do I allow God's presence to cheer me? Am I open to being cheered even in the middle of challenging circumstances? Will I only be happy if I get everything all my own way, right now? Do I spend more time asking God for something, rather than asking for more of Gods presence to cheer  and guide me?

It can be a struggle to live in contentment, but it is even more of a struggle to live constantly wanting more, more, always more. I wonder how often Christians seem perpetually dissatisfied to unbelievers and seekers. Are we waiting for "manifestations" and "miracles" before we can relax a bit and enjoy life? I wonder how often our lives don't seem worth imitating.

Maybe just a little more of God's dear presence to cheer and to guide is just what I need.

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