My Shadow of His Nearness

Thanks be to Thee, my Lord Jesus Christ
For all the benefits Thou hast given me,
For all the pains and insults Thou hast borne for me.
O most merciful Redeemer, friend and brother,
May I know Thee more clearly,
Love Thee more dearly,
Follow Thee more nearly.

Attributed to Richard de Wych (1197-1253); Bishop of Chichester (1244-1253)


How oft, aye, day by day,
I have prayed,
seeking, weeping, O Lord Jesus,
through tears of longing for You,
to see You more clearly,
so, to love You more dearly,
so, to follow You more nearly,
aye, day by day.

Yet I find it to be my lot
the clearer,
I draw to You
the farther away You
if You appear at all,
for oft what I behold is not Your Presence,
but only the shadow of Your Existence…


or is the shadow mine own;
of my sin,
its dimness growing deeper,
its gloominess, greater
in the eternal luminescence of Your Presence?

If that be so, dare I rejoice
in the appearance of darkness,
for it means I am closer to You
than I dared to conceive or believe.

2 thoughts on “My Shadow of His Nearness

  1. Wow!! I had to read this a few times Paul… at first I was sad because it seemed Jesus was far and unreachable! But then at the end I was happy because even though it’s only a shadow of what we seek, because we can see the shadow at all means Jesus is closer than we’d ever imagined!! So much to think about in this prayer, but I’ll be saying it even as I ponder the myriad of meanings it has. Thank you, it’s Amazing!

    Much love!


  2. Thanks, Loretta. The original title of this poem was, The Darkness of His Presence, given that, in my first interpretation of my words, I focused on the inherent darkness that appears when standing in the light. Then, when I honed in on the reality that the darkness is the shadow of my sin that is cast when I stand in the Light, Who is Jesus, I changed the “The” to “My”.

    AND, given our ongoing conversations about interpretations of words, especially between writer and reader, I’m about to post a personal reflection that explores this dynamic.


    Liked by 1 person

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