As a Charismatic Christian I have spent a lot of time “seeking” the presence of God. I’ve put it in many hours reaching for His heart, beckoning for Him to come, and even sacrificing money and energy to go places to “get in His Glory.” Often, I have felt frustrated with the lack of fruit that has come from such attempts to attain a deeper connection with the Lord.
One of the most popular worship songs of our time has a line in it that I’ve really grown to like. It says, “Let us become more aware of Your Presence.” I like that because it indicates a reformational truth about the nature of God.
God is here. He is not just “out there” somewhere.
The incarnation of Jesus revealed to us that our Maker is not inclined to maintain a separation from humanity in any sense. He is committed to be with us, manifestly.
This is not even just something He does. It’s who He is….
He’s Immanuel – which literally means “God is with us.”
He’s Yahweh Shammah – “The Lord is here.”
He is the promised Spirit of Christ, “with us even until the end of the age…”
Most of all He is love — and when seeking to overcome relational distance, “love never fails.”
Instead of asking for more of God’s presence, my prayer life these days consists primarily of finding ways to acknowledge and appreciate His nearness. I actually make lists of “encounters” I have with Him, to help bring them to my attention more. For instance, I’ve made note that…
- I wanted to spend alone time in prayer and reflection, but instead I felt God when I took time to encourage a friend who interrupted me wanting to talk about their problems. God showed up through me, rather than to me.
- I had a dream at night that really caught my attention, and upon taking time to consider its deeper meaning, I realized there was divine counsel hidden in its imagery that added guidance to my current situation in life.
- The number 11:11 caught my eye repetitively this week. I can’t help but think God is winking at me every time I see it, encouraging me that my life has an orchestrated symmetry to it just like the four linear ones standing side-by-side each other.
- I was thinking about my own personal weaknesses and failures, right when Katy Perry’s song came on the radio saying “I will love you, unconditionally…”
- I was thinking about someone I missed, and then five minutes later I ran into them for the first time in years at a grocery store.
- At church I was let down because I was getting caught up in worship right when the pastor cut off the music. He immediately started preaching a message though that turned out to be exactly what my soul needed to hear that day.
- I wake up dreading a long work day ahead of me, but suddenly the dread turns to optimism and I end up having a full, fun day. (I often find out later that someone just happened to be praying for me that morning!)
If I don’t take time to stop and savor these moments in life, I can become blinded to just how active and intimately involved the Lord is in my seemingly mundane routine. Even the more spectacular divine encounters – such as when an angel physically touched my head – can seem incredibly normal at times. The most dramatic signs from Heaven have a way of becoming easy to forget if we do not make an intentional effort to rehearse what happened and praise God for it.
Whatever it takes, I encourage you to practice looking for and listening for the presence of God in your life. Contrary to religious tradition, He isn’t one to simply “intervene” on special, awe-inspiring occasions. Rather, He is creatively weaving Himself in our daily lives already. He is loyal to keep working for our benefit whether we notice or not.
Let’s notice though. ?