The Presence of God
God at times gives us an awareness of His:
At other times He is our dance partner who throws us up only to catch us safely in His arms. Yet we may relax because He is welcoming and gentle. Sometimes He twirls us around to meet Him face to face in loving embrace. It is at such occasions that we feel loved, wanted and fearless of His presence though He is holy and perfect and we are not.
He often comes to us with His friendship and just because we do not expect His invitation, we ignore Him or reject Him outright. O how foolish we humans are not to see and receive Him as He is! We therefore subsequently complain that:
- God is not real to us
- God does not care for us
- God does not listen to our prayers
- God snubs us
- God ignores us
And therefore there is no reason for us to seek His face!
Speaks of harmony, beauty and strength in gentleness
Gives us joy indescribable
Strengthens our whole being
Makes us diligent because we want to see Him faster, as a bride longs for her Groom
Removes boredom and moodiness from us because He is so creative
Helps us be real and feel Him without fear or embarrassment
Encourages us to be flexible yet pursue excellence for Him
Keeps us excited in anticipation of His coming
Encourages endurance and patience in us in the midst of suffering injustice
Gives peace of mind in the midst of a darkening world
Calls us to work for Him, our Beloved
Leads us to soak in His pure love
Coaxes us to receive His kindness
Gently leads us to experience His humility and tender loving care
Gives us His goodness, faithfulness and self-control in our daily life.
Meanwhile, we look for Him in the Bible as He relates with
(Read slowly and ponder on the ways of God with each one of His creation…He relates with them personally, lovingly, gently correcting, in a way which is ready to forgive, giving them another opportunity to relate with Him without fear. As the waiting gracious Father relates to a wayward child, not condemning but affirming as in John 3:16-17, He welcomes those who return to Him. Abundance of hugs and kisses, ring on finger (symbolising sonship) and clothes on shoulders awaiting them back at the Father’s house. The family is incomplete without the children who were lost but now are found…all relatives, friends and neighbours must know! Indeed, God is grieved that mankind pulled away from Him and His good plans for them but He gave His beloved obedient Son in order to bring them home. He leaves us with a letter, the Bible, to convince us of His love by showing us how He relates with His children on earth throughout history…
Adam and Eve
Abraham and Sarah
Esau and Jacob
(Others in the Old Testament)
At the turn of history, watch how He related with:
Joseph and Mary
John, His earthly cousin
Herod the political Jewish king
The Pharisees and Sadducees
Pilate the coward and his wife, a woman of discernment
Simon from Cyrene
Joseph of Arimathea
Mary, Lazarus and Martha
Saul who became Paul
Peter the fisherman turned servant apostle
John the disciple whom Jesus trusts with His deep secrets of the yet unseen spiritual events
(Others in the New Testament)
Those were not perfect men and women yet God speaks to us (just as imperfect) through them…
What do they see in Him? What is our distorted image of Him?
Years have passed since we heard stories of the God of the Sunday Schools which we attended when young or the God of Christian kindergartens about 60 years ago. I wonder what has happened to Him since then? Is He still the same God we saw or do we still see Him through distorted lenses because of the imperfect life experiences I have? If He still exists, does He still care for us and search for us? I wonder…
Am I relevant to Him?
We are so disconnected and doing our own things till we have ignored His presence and relevance!
Where do I go from here?
Pause to reflect…Pause to yearn…Pause to apologise…Pause to repent…Pause to be hugged…Pause to be ringed and clothed by the Father…Pause to bask in His homecoming celebration for us…
Converse with GOD in the temple of the Holy Spirit in secret
Sense the presence of Him who first loved us and gave Himself for us
Know His holiness in His mercy imparted with patience
Feel His unhurried kindness and His gentleness
Be awed by His beauty, light and purity
Be surprised by His wisdom in all things
Be enthralled by His power, might and Sovereignty
Then…we cannot help but be humbled and rejoice that He receives and accepts us as we are
But…loves us too much to leave us where we are…
Journal and Pray
Shalom in Christ
It is necessary that we live in the presence of God where the children of God are each assigned a place and role. They are wanted in love, they are owned by the Father as they feel at home with Him together with the only begotten Son of God. In God’s eyes, there is no little people and no little places. There is much yet to be done by all His children and faithful disciples before we return to Him by His grace.
Many Christians do not think much of themselves. When God gives good gifts to His church, they say they are not for them. No, they are not worthy to have such good gifts, even from Him. Others, however, think too much of themselves.
In addition, we often view others according to their standing in a community. For example, in the organization-church context, a senior pastor is held in a higher esteem than his junior pastor; in a hospital, a specialist is of higher esteem than his medical officer; in the commercial world, the CEO is higher up than his manager. We accept these hierarchies as standards for the smooth functioning of each community. Further, one would not think of asking someone in a lower position to fulfill the role of one higher up. We are rather careful in matching talents and personality with the job to be done. This is also generally worldly wise.
However, in God’s community called the kingdom of light, such boundaries do not work. As the One who is pre-eminent, Christ can reverse many things. It is His prerogative and no created human being can tell Him off, not because He is higher up like what has been mentioned, but because He is the Creator, Owner and Father of all mankind i.e. He is actually the only Highest One over all creation.
Human self-esteem must reflect the Creator’s view of us to help us function normally and well. We need to accept ourselves as people loved by God, no matter how we fall short of His glory. Who wants to go near God if He is like our perfectionist-never-satisfied Mum, Dad, teacher, pastor or boss!
Let us see how He chooses and uses His people while we are still on earth and follow in His steps. Take Moses’ rod as an example (Exodus 4:1-5). The late Francis A. Schaeffer, whose books have mentored millions across the world by helping them develop a biblical worldview, has this to say…
Being a Rod of God
(Francis Schaeffer in No Little People, No Little Places, Chapter 1)
“The people who receive praise from the Lord Jesus will not, in every case, be those who hold leadership in this life. There will be many persons who were sticks of wood that stayed close to God and were quiet before Him, but were used in power by Him in a place which looks small to men.
Each Christian is to be a rod of God in the place of God for him. We must remember throughout our lives that in God’s sight there are no little people and no little places. Only one thing is important: to be consecrated persons in God’s place for us…at each moment. Those who think of themselves as little people in little places, if committed to Christ and living under His lordship in the whole of life, may, by God’s grace, change the flow of our generation. As we get on a bit in our lives, having known how weak we are, if we look back and see that we have been somewhat used by God, then we would be the rod ‘surprised by joy.’”
In our eyes, we view people according to their social/financial/physical/intellectual standing, which is unreal in His eyes.
In the final analysis, we need to believe and submit to the truth that God’s ways and thoughts are not ours and are also higher than ours (thankfully)! As Isaiah concluded,
“…For My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways My ways,” declares the Lord.
“As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways than your ways and My thoughts than your thoughts.
As the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return to it without watering the earth and making it bud and flourish, so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater, so is My word that goes out from My mouth:
It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.
You will go out in joy and be led forth in peace; the mountains and hills will burst in song before you, and all the trees of the field will clap their hands.
Instead of the thornbush will grow the pine tree, and instead of briers the myrtle will grow.
This will be for the Lord’s renown, for an everlasting sign, which will not be destroyed.”