I am not really a sunbathing enthusiast, but I do know that if I wanted to be, then I would have to go out of doors and expose my skin to the sun. If I did want a tan, however much I desired one, it would not happen by staying in a darkened room and simply trying hard to get one. I am pretty certain that it would not work either, by praying very hard for the sun to come indoors where I am instead of me going out to where it is.
I do understand that even in a darkened room, whilst the sun sustains me and its warmth permeates my whole environment, just because one aspect of its work reaches into that sort of situation, it does not mean that all other aspects will as well.
I am very grateful to God that wherever I am, even in the darkest spiritual period of my life, his presence and power will sustain me. However, there are some aspects of his work, which will only happen if, by faith, I walk out of that room and consciously and deliberately expose myself to the full blaze of his glory. Paul says in two Corinthians chapter three that it is as we look at the Lord with uncovered faces, the glory coming from the Lord transforms us into his likeness.
Some aspects of God’s work, especially his transforming work in us, happen as we expose ourselves to him, and they will not happen when we hide away, even though we may be trying hard or even praying hard to make it happen. We are encouraged to enter boldly into God’s presence in order to find grace and mercy to help in time of need. The transforming power of God comes from the risen Christ upon his heavenly throne. It is from there that he sends his Spirit to make the work of his Passion effective in the lives of his people on earth. If we shrink away from the exposing light of the Spirit we will not change, just as the sun will not tan us if we hide away from it.
There is only one sun which sustains our world, but the effects of the sun itself, and its light and heat are all different in the ways they function and relate to the various aspects of our needs on earth. There is only one God, but Father, Son and Holy Spirit have clear differences in the way in which they relate to us, God’s people. One of the increasing areas of confusion in the churches is how we are to respond to God who is Trinitarian, clearly one yet also clearly three.
A blog of a few hundred words is hardly the place to try to develop a right understanding of the Trinity for it is a mystery. However, it is perhaps the place to sound an alarm, that a lack of right understanding of the Trinitarian God we worship, may be part of the reason why so many of us are not seeing the growth in godliness that we long for.
We may always benefit from the light and heat of the sun even when we are hidden from it, but we cannot receive the ultra violet rays needed to give us a tan unless we expose ourselves to it. In like manner, God’s providential grace will benefit us even when we are hidden from him, but his transforming grace requires us to actively open ourselves to him in expectant faith.