A personal encounter with Jesus Christ creates unspeakable joy in His presence and unparalleled agony in His absence. To miss something or to long for something, one must first love and desire it. We never despair the loss of something that we take no interest in. However, when our lives are completely invested in something or someone it is unthinkable to imagine living without what we’ve begun to see as a part of us.
Since Jesus Christ came for us and promised to never leave us or forsake us, how or why do we experience His absence? The truth is, we create His absence. By turning away from Him and indulging in our sinful natures we create a chasm between us and Jesus Christ. This chasm is not insurmountable as long as we repent and turn back to our true love, our Savior, allowing His unrelenting love to bridge the gap we’ve created. The wave of darkness that we feel when experiencing suffering, loneliness or pain is not the absence of God but the very real presence of the trials of a broken world. However, amidst the suffering we are offered the presence of our true love and Savior, that is, if we will have him. For a person that has experienced the presence of Jesus Christ, to retain and sustain the presence of Jesus in their life is worth trading this entire world for. For the person that has never truly experienced the presence of Jesus Christ, gaining the whole world is the equivalent of 30 pieces of silver and the denial of Jesus Christ is a reasonable bargain to make. The measure of hate we feel toward sin is equal to the measure of love we feel toward Jesus. The more we love Him, the more we feel in agony when we feel a separation between us and Him. Therefore, in order to avoid this agonizing space between us and Jesus, we actively fight sin so as to protect the relationship most dear to us. If we feel no despair in the fact that our sin separates us from him, and if we never find ourselves missing the presence of Jesus in our lives we must ask ourselves the same question that Jesus asked Peter three times, “Do you love me?”