23 March 2018
If Jesus is right now seated at the right hand of God (Acts 2:33), presumably “upholding the universe by the word of his power” (Heb. 1:3), then how can he possibly care about the comparatively small issues of my unimportant life? How can the Governor of the universe possibly care that my aging parents require more and more of my time, which is already in short supply? How does the Chief Executive of Creation have time to concern himself with the ever increasing weakness and frailty of this broken body of mine? How does the Sovereign Superintendent of all souls have the time to pay attention to the fact that I haven’t been on a date in over a year? How can the Principle of All Power even care that I’m being bullied at school? How could the Almighty Administer of All Things possibly have time to notice that all I do is wash dishes, change diapers, and cook all day even though I have a master’s degree in business administration? How can He who is surrounded by 10,000 angels possibly comprehend the pain and loneliness that results from coming home to an empty apartment every single night? How can such an important and busy person deign to bother himself with the fact that I’ve been pulling my hair out for the past hour just trying to get this stupid computer to log onto the silly network?
This is why I don’t pray. God’s too busy and too far away. My little issues are of no concern to him who is the Overseer of Global Affairs. How can he possibly care what my mood is or that I can’t speak peaceably with my own children or that I haven’t spoken to my husband for the past 3 days? Sure, I’d love to sit down and spill my guts to Jesus, but there’s not one person in my life who gives me five uninterrupted minutes without texting or taking calls, so why on earth would I presume to have the full attention of someone so exalted and important as Jesus?
Then I read Galatians 2:20. “I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me.” Christ lives in me? How does he manage that? I thought he was seated at the right hand of God?
Then I read Acts 16:6-7, which reveals the mind-blowing, heart-stoppingly sweet truth that the Holy Spirit of God is also known as the Spirit of Jesus. The Spirit of Jesus and the Holy Spirit are the same Spirit. The Holy Spirit is poured out into the heart of each person who is adopted into the family of God. God gives his Spirit to his children because he loves them (Rom. 5:5). If you don’t have the Spirit of God dwelling within you, then you’re not yet a child of God (Rom. 8:9). However, if you are a child of God, then you have the Spirit of God dwelling within you (Rom. 8:14-15). If you have the Spirit of God dwelling within you, then you also have the Spirit of Jesus dwelling within you. He is the same Spirit.
So think about this. The physical, resurrected body of Jesus is right now seated at the right hand of God on high. Yet, because he has given us his Spirit, he is able to be with you wherever you go. If his Spirit is dwelling within you, then he knows everything about you. It is far better to have the Spirit of Jesus dwelling within you than to have the physical bodily person of Jesus standing in front of you. This is why Jesus told the disciples that it was good for him to leave them. Only if his body left them could his Spirit then never leave them.
“Nevertheless, I tell you the truth: it is to your advantage that I go away, for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you. But if I go, I will send him to you” (John 16:7).
It is far better to have the Spirit of Jesus within you, than the body of Jesus standing outside you. Remember the final promise of Jesus recorded in the Gospel of Matthew, “I will never leave you, nor forsake you?” It is only by the indwelling presence of his Holy Spirit that Jesus can keep that promise. If the Spirit of Jesus is residing within you, then truly he can never leave you.
It is through the indwelling presence of his Holy Spirit that the Governor of the Universe is able to be genuinely concerned that your aging parents require more of your time than you have to give. It is through the indwelling presence of his Holy Spirit that the Chief Executive of the Creation can not only be aware of, but also intimately aquatinted with all the aches and pains of your frail human body. It is through the indwelling presence of his own Holy Spirit that the Sovereign Superintendent of All Souls is well aware of your frequent battle with loneliness. It is through the indwelling presence of his own Holy Spirit that Principle of All Power knows and understands that you’re being bullied at school. It is through the indwelling presence of his own Holy Spirit that the Almighty Administer of All Things understands your frustration with diapers, dishes, and dinners. It is through the indwelling presence of his own Holy Spirit that he who is surrounded by 10,000 angels can be present with you every night in that lonely apartment.
If you have the Spirit of Christ dwelling within you, then you are never alone. He is with you at work. He is near you at home. He knows your moods, he feels your anxiety, he understands your weaknesses, and he is present in your pain.
Dear child of God, he knows when you sit down and when you rise up. He understands your thoughts before you think them. He knows the end of your road before you even reach the on-ramp. Even before you speak, he accurately knows what you will say. He guards you from the front and the rear. His protective hand is always upon you. Who can take in the truth of these facts and not be overwhelmed? Since his Spirit is within you, there is no place that you can go that he is not with you. There is no where you could run that he would not be beside you.
When you fly the friendly skies, he is there. When you ride the subway train, he is there. If you watch the sunrise from Mt. Everest, he is there. If you endure the sixty days of darkness in Barrow, Alaska, even there he is with you. Darkness is not dark to him. Night is as bright as day with him (Psalm 139).
This is why I pray. He knows. He cares. He understands. He is merciful, gracious, and generous. He knows my weaknesses and wounds. He hears my cries, bottles my tears, and counts my sleepless tossings in the night (Ps. 56:8).
Dear hurting, child of God, his body may be far away, seated at the right hand of God the Father, but his Holy Spirit is seated within you. He is not too busy to hear your sighs. He is not too distracted to listen to your pleas. In faith, run to him, rest in him, and rejoice in his Spirit who powerfully dwells within you.