What Are You Looking At?

I finished reading “The God of All Comfort” today. It was a very worthwhile read, and I will be rereading it now and then for many years. Another section:

“I feel as if I could not repeat this evident truism too often, for somehow people seem to lay aside their common sense when they come to the subject of religion, and seem to expect to see things upon which they have deliberately kept their backs turned. They cry out, ‘O Lord, reveal Thyself’; but instead of looking at Him they look at themselves, and keep their gaze steadily fixed on their own inward feelings, and then wonder at the ‘mysterious dealings’ of God in hiding His face from their fervent prayers. But how can they see what they do not look at?

It is never God who hides His face from us, but it is always we who hide our face from Him, by ‘turning to Him the back and not the face.’ The prophet reproaches the children of Israel with this, and adds that they ‘set up their abominations in the house which is called by God’s name.’ When Christians spend their time examining their own condition, raking up all their sins, and bemoaning their shortcomings, what is this but to set up the pedestal in their hearts, and to make it the center of their whole religious life, and of all their care and efforts. They gaze at this great, big, miserable self until it fills their whole horizon, and they ‘turn their back’ on the Lord, until He is lost sight of altogether.

We are never anywhere commanded to behold our emotions, nor our experiences, nor even our sins, but we are commanded to turn our backs upon all these, and to behold the Lamb of God who taketh away our sins.”

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