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Day 10: Though You Have Not Seen Him

Though you have not seen Him, you love Him…1Peter 1:8, NASB
My wife and I had a long-distance relationship.

We had met at a summer camp, become good friends, and started trading ink and paper letters on a regular basis.  I was very much in love with the person writing me these letters.  However, truth be told, I couldn’t remember what she looked like. When I closed my eyes, I couldn’t picture her face.  This was in the late 90’s, before digital cameras and social media made photo-swapping common place.

Connected only by words on paper and an occasional phone call, we were becoming best friends.  I considered her “my secret”.  Her friendship, which was invisible to everyone else around me, stabilized me through the difficulties of high-school and filled me with joy and hope.  Accompanied by this stabilizing joy was an intense, bitter-sweet longing that I experienced to actually be with her, face-to-face.  

After two years, we finally met again.  That did it for me, and although I was only a senior in High School, I asked her to marry me.  At that point, the secret was out and everyone was invited to the wedding! Now, we’ve been married 12 years and have 5 children.  We now live face-to-face.

The Romance of Absence

Peter marvels at his fellow believers, “Though you have not seen Him, you love Him, and though you don’t see Him now, you believe in Him and rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory.” 1 Peter 1:8

There is something amazing about our predicament prior to Jesus’ return.  We are living our lives in love with a person we’ve never met face-to-face.  It’s a unique dynamic: we have knowledge of who He is, certainly good reason to love Him, but we lack the fullness of seeing His face or experiencing His touch.

Right now, we have the opportunity to be romanced by Jesus in His absence, to become best friends at a distance, to become pleasing to Him in secret.  This season of history, where we have the Holy Spirit’s presence in us, but don’t have Jesus among us, is perfectly designed by God to produce inexpressible joy and real hope, as well as a bitter-sweet longing for the fullness that is to come at Christ’s return.  What could be more attractive to our bridegroom than our whole-hearted desire for Him, even when we can’t see Him!

The tension of having real revelation of who He is without being with Him face-to-face also creates a test.  If we respond by believing Jesus, this tension will fill us with a stabilizing, secret joy as well as a bitter-sweet longing for His coming.  We’ll be able to endure visible, intimidating trials with stability because of our invisible anchor.

However, if we forget about Him, if we allow ourselves to be enticed by other, more visible lovers or to be choked out by simply getting distracted by life, we’re in danger of missing the coming marriage or of arriving without our wedding clothes (Matt. 22:11).

Father, Let us experience the romance of Jesus’ absence as we prepare now to live with Him face to face.

Jonathan Friz, Amherst, MA
 10 Days National Coordinator