The pain of separation and longing to see our loved ones was unbearable during the pandemic lockdown. Until then we knew we’d be meeting within a year. The joy of being with siblings is inexplicable. Those 4 days my brother and family were home after 2 ½ years was a much awaited time. Morning prayers were quick and short to save time to talk, cook and go out with them. At night we were all too tired and sleepy for family prayers. All throughout I would miss my quiet prayer times alone in God’s presence, meditating and jotting down thoughts and points. In the midst of enjoying I was reminded of praying but would comfort myself saying I could resume my prayer time soon and anytime.
The day after they left I found myself hard to make time for prayers or concentrate on reading the Bible for a longer time. All those happy moments with family and friends felt temporary and I found myself crying and asking God for forgiveness for neglecting my prayer times. I was reminded of the verse in Ps 51:11 “Do not banish me from Your presence and do not take Your Holy Spirit from me.” and kept repeating that verse to God. My God in His mercy blessed me with His presence and I could get up feeling warm and relieved.
Nothing could be more convincing of the fact than that in God’s presence is fullness of joy (Ps 16:11). This is the joy that has no bounds and is everlasting. This joy fills us with peace and hope. It may seem ordinary to pray and spend time in God’s presence but we realize its value when we have been restricted or have neglected our time alone with Him. We become restless and try to make amends for the lost time like a child trying to cover up his mistake. Our heavenly Father desires to be with us always according to His promise to us that He would never leave us nor forsake us. God, through the sacrifice of His Son Jesus Christ created a relationship with us when we accepted Jesus Christ as our savior. Now it is upto us to maintain that fellowship with Him.
All our relationships, jobs, wealth, academic/career accomplishments etc are temporary joys. Jesus says in John 15:11 in order to abide in His love we have to obey His commandments. Thus, when we abide in God’s love, His joy remains in us and our joy will be full. Fullness of joy in God’s presence is a joy we experience without doubt or fear and is complete with abundant love, peace and freedom.
The moments we experience God’s presence through prayers, praise and worship and time spent meditating His Word is when we abide in Him and that makes our joy full and complete (Psalms 16:11). Therefore, there is no fullness of joy in our lives apart from being in constant fellowship with God.
Sr. Beena Kurian