A Conspiracy of Presence

I remember my college English professor saying that the loneliness of the human being is a theme that flows through all great literature. We enter the world alone and die alone, and in between, it’s a constant challenge to find people to love us.

I hope I haven’t ruined your day by bringing this up. Please stay with me, because there’s a bright side to this dark dilemma. In the Bible, loneliness enters through Adam and Eve’s expulsion from Eden, and it grows increasingly tragic in Cain’s murder of Abel, the Great Flood, the enslavement in Egypt, and, most memorably of all, in Jesus’ cry from the cross, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”

But there’s also another theme that runs through the Bible. The spiritual writer Dallas Willard calls it “the divine conspiracy.” In the midst of our striving and the endless ways we end up in loneliness and despair, God is always conspiring to win over our hearts and call us back to community, friendship, and love.

The challenge for all of us is to stop resisting this conspiracy. It takes a lifetime to begin to cooperate fully with it. This Sunday, as we continue to explore the theme How God Guides Us, we’ll be looking for practical ways to do this.

God guides us by revealing his presence in often unexpected ways. Joshua discovers this as he leads the Hebrews into Canaan, and the disciples must face the unexpected when Jesus invites them to “go over to the other side.”

In these passages, we’ll find a multitude of insights to help us live beyond our natural human loneliness in the wonder of God’s mercy, grace, and peace.

With much love,

Evan Howard,