Ascension Day…

…the day that You abandoned us, leaving this world God-haunted. I know the Holy Ghost comes as a Comforter, leading us into all truth. But I must admit this truth leaves me as cold as the presence of Your absence in this world. You went away. You left us here, to muddle through as best we can. And we have yet to find You fully, and all too many mornings it feels I’m merely making it all up over and over again.

In The Problem of Pain, C. S. Lewis unfathomably calls this loss “the ultimate law,” claiming that things will only live for us once we abandon them, that the very lack of a thing gives rise to a longing which calls us out of ourselves, and only there will we find ourselves, along with all we long for, thrown in. He names this thing “Joy,” though I must admit I’ve never felt at all sure why, for this painful stab seems mostly to show us not much more than how alone we are.

And, truth be told, we are so alone. Perhaps the candles that we kindle, all the songs we sing, perhaps these acts of worship that all too often lapse into going through the motions are just that and nothing more. He has left us SO alone.

What then? Sleep in on Sabbath, cast it all aside as if alone is all our story? I hope to God that even still, I’m not that kind of fool–not yet, at least. For in the heart of emptiness, of pangs of longing piercing us we hear, down in the deep heart’s core that there is more, much more, yes so much more than all this emptiness.

For all of this alone, this waiting room will surely point (once we peer into it) to truth that will transform us if we let it. This room of empty waiting shouts aloud to those with ears to hear that we are here alone but for a season, so that we will look outside and find all that we’re waiting for is brimming, just next door, and surely coming back to claim us all.

And so, for me, today, the only point in all of this alone He left behind is this one fact that yanks it into clarity, to finally making sense:

He shall return.

For surely here in this God-haunted world we read the very opposite of all the old ghost-stories. For surely here the Holy Ghost does many things, but maybe most of all He points us towards those days when Ghosts come back to life, take on new flesh, join bone to bone, when faith will finally wake to glorious sight and we shall finally, fully see and know, not now as through a darkened glass.

So go, Lord, go ahead, ascend, go leave us and then send the Holy Ghost, by whom we lean our lives all on this promise: You shall surely come again.

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