As a doe longs
for running streams,
So longs my soul
for you, my God.
My soul thirsts for God,
the God of life;
When shall I go to see
the face of God?
I have no food but tears,
day and night;
And all day long men say to me,
‘Where is your God?’ NJB
That last line has been the lament down through time. “Where is God.” “How can God allow this to happen?” “Why doesn’t God speak to me?”
Consider Elijah. A man God could depend on to speak the Word. A man so favored by God that he was taken into Heaven without dying. To this day, at Passover a chair is set out for Elijah, should he decide to visit. Many in Jesus’ day believed Elijah would return to be the Messiah.
Yet, that same Elijah, got up and fled for his life. CJB This great man of God who stood before the rich and powerful speaking the Word, This Elijah told God, I have had enough, Lord. Take my life. I am the only one left, and now they are trying to kill me too. NIV
Fear is part of being human; a part of being human in this world. If we lived in Heaven standing next to God, we would know no fear. Imagine walking through a strange land at night, but having two well-trained lions as body guards. With God beside us, what is there to fear?
The man possessed by demons gives us a different image of the presence of God. We tend to stress the exorcism of this story, but Jesus seems unimpressed. Please note his words: No, go back to your family, and tell them everything God has done for you. NLT What Jesus said is, God can cast out a thousand demons with as much effort as it takes to blink an eye; why ask where God is, he is here and he cares about you.
The skeptic will point out that if God really cared, he would not allow the man to be possessed. Jesus would say, God is willing to suffer the pain of a parent who must watch his children make wrong choices. God does that because He wants us to choose to love only Him. He knows that some will not, and He weeps for them. Even with all the bad things that happen to us, God loves us. Even when we turn away from Him, He loves us. We are free to choose.
All baptized in Christ, you have all clothed yourselves in Christ. NJB As many of you as were immersed into the Messiah have clothed yourselves with the Messiah. CJB All of you who were baptised “into” Christ have put on the family likeness of Christ. Phillips Or, in the literal Greek: For as many as into Christ were baptized, put on Christ. Novum Testamentum Graece
Putting on Christ does not mean we become Christ, only that we can face our fears with more confidence, knowing that God is with us, and His lions walk beside us in the dark.
Be righteous and do good.