‘They will be punished with everlasting destruction and shut out from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of his might’ 2 Thessalonians 1.9
In this verse, Paul is looking into the future and seeing what we would call ‘hell’ - the terrifying absence of the presence of God. However, there is something here that is actually quite encouraging for us.
We often think that if we cannot sense God’s presence, then he must be absent and not here with us. However, this is simply untrue and no matter what you might be feeling – he is with you. This is what you need to hold on to if you face hard times and have no sense of God’s presence.
On these occasions it can be very helpful to recall a phrase such as, ‘You are here’, or ‘The Lord is in this place’ and quietly repeat it to reassure yourself. Allow this phrase to shine the truth into whatever situation you might be facing. God is with you; he is here and he is present right now.
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The Revd John Ryeland, Director of The Christian Healing Mission