This word is used in several different ways in the Scriptures, such as:

* Will there be vacant places in heaven because I have failed to speak of Christ to those people in ‘my world’ and bring them into salvation?

* We are told to not forsake gathering together with other believers (Heb 10:25). This will require working through differences of opinion and offences so that we can give and receive encouragement and challenge others along the pathway of life.

Do I let petty concerns and grievances prevent me attending worship services?

* Sometimes we feel the Lord has withdrawn His presence from us. Sin removes the closeness of relationship. If our relationship with the Lord is ‘healthy’ and we don’t sense His presence it is because He wants us to grow and walk by faith, not reliant on our fickle feelings (2 Cor 5:7).  Christ said, “I will never leave or forsake you”, for when we receive salvation His Spirit dwells within (Jn 14:17; 1 Cor 6:19; Heb 13:5). Maybe it is time to intentionally “Come near to God so He will come near to you” (Jas 4:8). Feelings come and go yet these don’t alter our true relationship to Him which is based on dependable solid fact.

* At death, we are absent from the body but present with the Lord (2 Cor 5:6).

See also: alone, closeness, connection, presence of God.