diary of grace

The Difference Between Really Living and Merely Existing

Never have I woke up to a morning where He wasn’t waiting to spend the day with me. There’s never been a day I couldn’t live with Him if I chose. He is always near when life ways heavy on my shoulders— His arm is always outstretched for me to lean on.

But have you ever thought about what life would be like if He wasn’t there?

I’ve had to wonder lately if I take Him for-granted… Because He is faithful we forget what a gift He is. We forget how truly awesome it is to get to live life with Him.

And so as the sun set orange in the west, my prayer was simple… “teach me not to take You for-granted.” So when it felt like He’d hidden Himself, I was reminded— maybe this is where I learn. Darkness always gives way to a light even brighter than before when we open our hands to receive the black as well as the bright.

I can hardly even imagine a life without Him… no whispered prayers on soft pillows in the morning light. In fact no morning light at all, for He is the God of all that. No quiet hour basking in His love. No Shoulder to lean on in the day’s hard. No Love that makes every sunrise brighter, every flower more colorful and every moment sweeter. Nowhere to run when life caves in. No safe Place to hide when words of our fellow men sting. No texts of grace and love to read. No Protector of our hearts. No greater Purpose for our little lives. No One to put the sparkle in our eye and the joy in our day. No Arms to hold us when we cry. No One to share every detail of every day, and every pain in our little hearts. No quiet words with our Beloved in sunset’s glow. No Eye to watch and guard us as we sleep. No Reason to wake up in the morning. Nothing. Nothing.

And it’s when I don’t feel His presence as near that I realize, life is nothing without Him. Sure I know it. But now I know it with all my heart.

I don’t want life if I can’t live it with Him.

My mind goes back to Much-Afraid’s words in the powerful allegory Hinds Feet on High Places when the Shepherd asks her to give up all, and for a moment she contemplates a life without Him…

"For one black, awful moment Much-Afraid really considered the possibility of following the Shepherd no longer, of turning back. She need not go on. There was absolutely no compulsion about it. Her sorrow and suffering could be ended at once, and she could plan her life in the way she liked best, without the Shepherd. During that awful moment or two it seemed to Much-Afraid that she was actually looking into an abyss of horror, into an existence in which there was no Shepherd to follow or to trust or to love— no Shepherd at all, nothing but her own horrible self. Ever after, it seemed that she had looked straight down into Hell… The awful glimpse down into the abyss of an existence without Him had so staggered and appalled her heart that she felt she could never be quite the same again. However, it had opened her eyes to the fact that right down in the depths of her own heart she really had but one passionate desire, not for the things which the Shepherd had promised, but for Himself. All she wanted was to be allowed to follow Him forever. Other desires might clamor strongly and fiercely nearer the surface of her nature, but she knew now that down in the core of her own being she was so shaped that nothing could fit, fill, or satisfy her heart but He Himself. 'Nothing else really matters,' she said to herself, 'only to love Him and to do what he tells me. I don’t know quite why it should be so, but it is. All the time it is suffering to love and sorrow to love, but it is lovely to love Him in spite of this, and if I should cease to do so, I should cease to exist.'”

Her words are forever graven into me. What is life without my Jesus?

There is nothing in all the universe that compares to living in the light of His smile. And while He may hide His face for brief moments to let us find Him in a deeper way, the Son always comes back out, and when He does I realize more than ever what a gift He is.

I echo the prayer of old…

"Entreat me not to leave Thee, or to return from following after Thee: for whither thou goest I will go; Thy people shall be my people and Thy God my God… And where Thou diest, will I die, and there will I be buried. The Lord do so to me, and more also, if aught but death part Thee and me.”

Every other gift in life is from Him and only becomes truly beautiful when we experience it with Him. Because really, “to live is the rarest thing in the world. Most people exist, that is all.”

My life is existence until I live it with Him. Then it becomes life… like more abundant… life most beauty-full.

Really, it’s all pretty simple…

He is all.

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Hannah Rayne

​22. INFJ. Lover of Jesus. Dean. Bible Teacher. Graduate of Masters of Biblical Counseling.

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