Monday, August 5, 2013

His Presence

                I have been thinking a lot lately about the presence of God. It all started with a book that I read many years ago by Brother Lawrence, called “Practicing the Presence of God”. I had read this book when I first became a Christian, and was intrigued by this man’s life. He talked to God always, walked with God daily, and shared his heart with others about what it means to be in the presence of God. When I looked up the word presence in my concordance the first mention of the word is found in Genesis 3:8. Adam and Eve have just eaten of the tree and their eyes have been opened and they are naked.

                “And they heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God among the trees of the garden.” Genesis 3:8
                The word presence is not really found in the Hebrew language. The only definition that I could find of the word in the Hebrew Dictionary meant “The Face of God”. To be in the presence of God meant that they were before the face of God Almighty, He could see them fully.  Adam and Eve sinned, and the first thing they do is to hide themselves from the Lord. Isn’t that what we do also? We fall down into sin; perhaps it’s something we say or something we do and we immediately go and flee from the presence of the Lord. We try to hide what we have done so that the Lord won’t see. But the Lord is Omnipresent, He is everywhere at all times.
                David knew this; he understood that God was omnipresent. He asked the Lord in Psalm 139:7, “Where can I go from Your Spirit? Or where can I flee from Your presence?” The Lord is everywhere at all times. He is not some being that fills up space, for God is Spirit. He is not a God we can put on a shelf or in a box, because He exists outside of creation. To be in the presence of God means that we are always before His face, He is always present; we just may not always acknowledge it. Where we go, He goes. What we read, He reads. What we watch, He watches, what we do, He sees us do. There is no where we can hide from God. He fills all and is in all, and has created all.

                When I think about His presence being always with me, that gives me comfort, yet on the other hand it convicts me. It makes me think about some of the choices I make in regards to television programs and some movies I have paid money to see. But it also gives me comfort to know that He is always with me. Like Adam and Eve, I too try to hide when I sin, but then there are those times when I know and acknowledge His presence that I find myself overwhelmed and falling head over heels in love with Him. It is those moments when I know that He is with me, loving me and forgiving me, guiding me and taking care of me.
                It is in those moments of acknowledging His presence that we feel the nearness of God and we can enjoy the sweet fellowship He desires to have with us. He went looking for Adam and Eve, not because He did not know where they were at, but because He wanted them to know He was there to help them and there to save them. He had to allow them to suffer the consequences for their sins, but He did not condemn them, He did not stop being near them, He did not stop loving them. Instead, He covered their nakedness and blessed them with children. He gave them hope of salvation through the promise of a Messiah (Genesis 3:15), a hope of forgiveness of their sins. He gave them a way to be with Him, even though sin had separated their nearness for the time being.

                It is comforting to know that God is at hand all the time. Depending on where you are in your walk with the Lord, depends on how you feel about the presence of God in your life. If you are with Him, if you are His, then His presence will bring you comfort, will bring you peace. But if you are against Him then His presence will bring you fear, dread and you will find yourself hiding from Him. One thing that Brother Lawrence did that was fascinating to me was that he practiced the presence of God.

                He constantly acknowledged that God was present with him at all time, in every place and he walked in that knowledge. He opened his eyes to the glory of God, and to the understanding that even though he could not see God, even though he could not touch God physically, he believed God was with him. John Greenleaf Whitter quoted, “Before me, even as behind, God is, and all is well.” There is no place we can go from His presence, there is no tree for us to hide behind, because God is always with us. No matter who we are, no matter what we believe, the presence of God is and always will be. This knowledge either brings you peace and comfort, or it brings you fear and dread.
                God is present with you, all the time. It is up to you to acknowledge it and live before Him in recognition of His great love and passionate desire for you. He is with you always. He tells us in Isaiah 43:2 that “When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow you. When you walk through the fire, you shall not be burned, nor shall the flame scorch you.” God is always with us, ready to help, ready to guide, ready to save and ready to be your God. We must acknowledge it; we must accept it, and not try to hide from Him. He knows, He sees, He hears and He watches, for His eyes are always upon us, yet He loves us, yet He desires to help us and be our God in-spite of all our sins and failures.

                Do not flee from His presence, but step into it and let Him show you the glory of His love, and the wonder of His grace. His presence is with you, whether you believe it or not. He is with you, wherever you may go; whatever you may do, this is comfort and this is peace. He is always there for you, all we have to do is believe. Amen and Amen.