Present to Jesus and to my self, absent to others. That is what he has said again and again and again. For six months. And I have sought to obey him, not knowing why, other than this is what he said.
In the last two weeks, I have begun to understand. I have seen things which he promised me back in May, things of his power which I last saw fourteen years ago and more. In a context of darkness he has acted upon me and, I believe, through me in an intercession I could never have undertaken myself.
There has been a kick-back. Already. And I have come to understand something of the wildness of this grace which I describe. I had thought this grace was a life truly lived out of my union with him, a life which does only what it sees the Father doing.
It is. But I never knew how wild and how violent such grace would be.
I never knew that wild meant wild. That the violence of heaven is violent. And though I have said it and said it, in echo of T.F. Torrance, I never knew quite how it would be that the grace of God first kills before it makes alive.
And now I see that this grace, a wildness that I have not known for these fourteen years, does kill. And right now it is killing my reputation for reliability, my reputation for availability to others. The reputation I have built and treasured is on the fire because when you do only what you sense that the Father is doing you invariably find your own schedule wrecked. For when you seek to be present to those to whom you believe you owe obligations of friendship you find that he faces you sometimes with a choice. You can follow through on being present to people or you can be present to Jesus.
And you know what you promised him all those months ago.
Some of my friends understand right now. Some have taken my breath away in the way that they have stood in prayer for me in this. The generosity of others in encouraging me to pursue presence to Jesus even when it means absence to them has been strength to me, especially their faith that it will be to our good that I do so.
But others don’t understand. All they see is that Chloe has withdrawn her strength. That she will no longer procure outcomes or fight for those things on which her identity used to depend. They see my absence to them and they understand it as personal. That I do not have words for them to describe a reality of presence to Jesus which is more by faith than sight does not help.
Still, all I can say is that this is what I was born for. That this is the deepest expression of my calling in Christ: to be present to him as fully as I know how. That everything else I do is only window-dressing and that intimacy with him, that entering into the very depths of his life – this alone is the deepest expression of who I am in him and also the source of the only ministry worth offering back to him.
So again today I choose him. I trust him for the things which are not getting done in these days. I trust him for the people to whom I have become absent. I trust him for the situation in which he has released me to battle for his kingdom purposes. And I trust him to lead me deeper into that secret place of the Most High, into the secret of his face. May it be so.