Posted on September 2nd, 2017
Since the children have flesh and blood,
he too shared in their humanity
so that by his death he might break the power
of him who holds the power of death – that is, the devil –
and free those who all their lives
were held in slavery by their fear of death.
For surely it is not angels he helps,
but Abraham’s descendants.
For this reason he had to be made like them,
fully human in every way,
in order that he might become
a merciful and faithful high priest in service to God,
and that he might make atonement for the sins of the people.
Because he himself suffered when he was tempted,
he is able to help those who are being tempted.
– Hebrews 2:14-18 NIV
Saints of all ages have made it their business to be present to God, and out of this has sprung their truest vocations. They become, therefore, the ones who blaze spiritual trails for others. Every generation of Christians must courageously face dark wildernesses, peculiar to the time in which they live. These ‘perilous woods’ through which a path must be hewn are made up of the choking undergrowth and dark flowering of the sins and blindnesses of generations past, and they always stand as formidable roadblocks to the next generation of Christians. The saints who make it their full intention, therefore, to practice the Presence (however they term this) become the courageous pathfinders, whether for the many or the few. And in the doing of this, no matter how much they suffer, they are to be accounted doubly blessed, for they have discovered what they were born to do. 
As dark as our days may be, we needn’t face our generation’s stunning challenges alone. The enemy of our souls provokes all manner of gloom – life is ruined because I’m so defective; finding goodness is impossible because of how others have failed me; I shouldn’t bother because no one cares anyway. Listen as the Spirit of Christ rises up in you to rebuke despair and release His courage within your soul! Whether today’s trailblazing is through the private tangle of sexuality and relationships or the public wilderness of Christian leadership, you have just one task: Make it your business to be present to God.
Set your heart on the truth that Another is with you and within you. Lift up the lantern in your hand and plant your next footstep where His gifts of faith, hope and love illuminate the path. Hack away at the tangle of weeds around your feet, faithfully exercising dominion over your days and hours, your habits and practices, your relationships and spheres of influence. Stumble forward with flashlight in one hand and machete in the other, pressing on in no strength but Christ’s. Far from shameful, to be a struggler on the Way is truly noble and puts you in the finest company. Your Father is offering you this one true way to find out who you are, and what’s more, become that real you. As you say yes to Him, who knows how many you’ll bring along to His glory!
Come Holy Spirit, form Christ’s character within me. Father, even as I look to you in my need, I pray also for the others, my brothers and sisters who are practicing Your Presence, determined to progress. Pour Your life into us and empower us to find the Way through all manner of tangles. Thank you for freeing us through the offering of Your Son, and thank you for the great mystery that we follow Him even as He lives within us. May You be glorified as we stand in You. Amen.
 Leanne Payne, The Healing Presence (Westchester, Crossway Books, 1989), 30.
Painting: William Holman Hunt, 1827-1910, Light of the World [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
Meditation prepared by Sarah Colyn, drawing on the books and ministry of Leanne Payne.