How can one come to feel the personal presence of Christ? by J R Miller
All the passages below are taken from J R Miller, “Intimate Letters on Personal Problems.”
Replying to your question, "How can one come to feel the personal presence of Christ?" I would say that we need to be careful not to depend too much upon feeling in the matter of our spiritual relations. Peter speaks of Christ as one of whom, not having seen, we love, on whom though now we see him not, yet believing we rejoice. There is a difference between a friend whom we can see, whose touch we can feel, on whose arm we can lean, whose voice we can hear — and one who is invisible to us. Yet Christ is just as near to us as the closest human friend who stands by our side, into whose face we can look, from whose spoken words we receive warmth and inspiration. As to his human body, Christ is in Heaven — but he says in his last promise to his disciples, "I am with you always. "
For example, I do not see Christ while I am writing this letter to you — but I know that he is nearer to me than the closest human friend could be. I know that he is right by me, that he sees me and knows my thoughts and feelings, that he loves me and thinks about me and cheers and inspires and encourages me. So Christ has become to me the most real friend in all the world. I try to think of him continually, and always to love him as I would love him if I saw him. I tell him my difficulties and questions and temptations, my needs, and talk with him about my friends, and those who come to me for help. Thus I try to live all my life with Christ in the closest companionship. "Surely, I am with you always, even to the end of the age!" Matthew 28:20. "He Himself has said: I will never leave you or forsake you!" Hebrews 13:5.
Yet I have never seen him, never heard his voice, never felt his touch. If we believe in the existence of Christ and his presence with us, according to his promise — he will become as real to us as he was to Mary and Martha, sitting at his feet and listening to his words, or to John as he lay upon his bosom at the supper table. Such relations with Christ cannot but establish between him and us a very real and personal friendship. We are sure that he is our friend, and, believing in his love, trusting and following him, living with him — will soon lead us to love him. There is a verse in the eleventh chapter of Hebrews which says about Moses that "he endured, as seeing him who is invisible." Moses never saw God with human eyes — but God was so real to Moses that it was as if he saw him. The faith of Moses made God's presence a constant reality to him.
I am not certain that what I have said will help you directly — but I am sure this is the way to get the blessing you want to get. You must believe what Christ says about his love and care for you, about his presence with you, and his desire to help you. Your faith will thus make him a reality to you. Then you and Christ will become such close and familiar friends, that you will soon learn to walk with him, to live with him.
Let me guard you against trying to have any vision of Christ, or against feeling in this matter. The craving for feeling in spiritual relations, is harmful. Christ is not with us in human form. He said to Mary on that Easter Day, "Touch me not; for I am not yet ascended to my Father." The old natural relations were not restored. We need to guard against the same craving, for it never can be realized — but what is realized, the spiritual relation, is far higher and purer and more real.