Psalm 139 states Gods nearness wherever we find ourselves. We know He isn’t confined to a church building or only available at certain times of day. But we can still miss God at work even when He is right in front of our eyes.
Why? Because we are still learning the art of knowing and following the voice of the Holy Spirit as He speaks. Two people hear the same song. One experiences God, and one daydreams about something that needs to be done at work next week. Two people face a crisis in life. One experiences an over-whelming sense of grace flood over the pain—after all, He is not just present but very present help in our time of trouble (see Psalm 46:1)—while the other feels nothing but hurt, betrayal, anger and loneliness. Why? It’s all about how and where we place our faith and expectation. By God’s grace, I have a growing revelation of the love of God toward me, so that even on the hardest of days I am expecting Him to turn it around.
If I can encourage you in one way today, it would be for you to cultivate your attitude of expectation so that you will be present in His presence. Don’t wait until you have things figured out. Don’t wait until you feel spiritual. Expect Him right now. King David said with much confidence in Psalm 27:14, “Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord” (NIV).
Each of us has had conversations with someone when we knew the other person wasn’t really there. Physically they were there. Words came out of their mouth. They looked in our direction, but we could just tell they weren’t present. It is so easy to get distracted and not fully be in the moment. Its an art to learn to STOP and experience God in the present. He is with us now. Emmanuel, God with us. All you have to do is be aware, whether you are driving in your car, shopping for groceries, reading a bedtime story to your child, waking up and putting the coffee on, or standing with other believers with arms stretched high, singing songs of praise and thanksgiving to our Lord and Savior. He is with us.
One enduring Christian devotional book is The Practice of the Presence of God by Brother Lawrence, a seventeenth-century Carmelite monk. It was this precious saint’s goal to do nothing out of selfishness, but to do everything out of love for God, whether working the soil or studying God’s Word. For him that meant realizing he was always in God’s presence and living every moment in that realization. His simple but profound teaching was “to form a habit of conversing with God continually, and referring all we do to Him.” So what if you do that and still don’t feel His presence?
Brother Lawrence continues in his writings: “We must at first apply to Him with some diligence: but that after a little care, we should find His love inwardly excites us to it without any difficulty.”
Oh how I love this thought. It was early in my Christian experience that my attention and awareness of the presence of God became very real, that I was so aware that if I drew near to Him, He always would draw near to me. He hemmed me in, behind and before. Laid His hand upon me, gently, not heavy-handed. And my heart continues to be overwhelmed by the fact that the God who created the heavens and the earth actually is here and delights to draw near to me.
His presence defines us, sets us apart, strengthens us, penetrates our very being, gives direction to our pursuits, fuels our passions and brings joy and strength as we draw near.
James 4:8 says, “Draw near to God and He will draw near to you” (NKJV).
Take these scriptures into your day today and let His presence set your stance and direction.