Thursday, January 26, 2012

Present to God's Presence

When we become present to the moment, we find ourselves becoming present to God’s presence.

So often we hope for God to “show up” in our devotional time or “be present” in our worship. Yet, the reality is that God is already present. He is available. More than that, he wants us to encounter him! God desires us to experience his presence, his protection, his power, his provision and his peace.

Like the father of the prodigal son, he is there simply waiting for us to show up. It is we who must become aware of him. We must become present to the presence of God.

I Am: God of the Now
At any time we can become present to God’s presence precisely because he is the eternal “I am.” In Exodus 3:14, the Lord reveals himself to Moses as “I am who I am.”

God lives in the Eternal Now. For him, time and eternity are one. God is being itself. He holds time in his hand: he is the past, present and future. God simply is. And he is there for us.

Distracted Existence
Most of us understand the theory of God’s omnipresence. We know the Lord is—and that he is there for us. Yet, how easy it is for us to be un-attentive to God’s presence!

The Lord welcomes us to his presence: “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28). We certainly fit the criteria—we are tired and weighed down! But, so often we overlook Jesus’ invitation. Not sure that his rest is really available for us today, we remain un-attentive to his offer.

Sometimes we are distracted from God’s presence by our preoccupation with things in the world. Jesus described the cares of the world as thorns that choke his word in us. Other times we become engrossed in our own thoughts—responsibilities, worries, irritations and preoccupations. Just as we can walk right past a lilac bush in bloom on a spring day, failing to notice its beauty or smell its scent because we are un-attentive, so we regularly miss the fragrance of God’s presence in our self-preoccupation.

Attending to God’s Presence
If we choose, however, we can attend to God’s presence and enter into his peace. He is nearer to us than our very breath, says Augustine of Hippo. But we must open our spiritual eyes. We must be attentive with all of our spiritual senses.

“Taste and see that the Lord is good” (Psalm 34:8).

We are invited to attend the Lord’s presence with our whole being. Interestingly, we are told little about “how” to do this. It is a spiritual reality—like being born again. These are difficult to describe to someone. In Scripture we are simply invited into them.

Likewise, the Lord makes constant invitations to us to experience his presence. That invitation is backed with a promise. In Jeremiah 29:13 God assures us, “You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.”

Let us do just that. Let us engage our whole heart to seek him. Let us passionately taste and see his goodness. Let us actively attend to his presence. Let us live in the presence of the eternal “I Am.”

© 2012 Glenn E. Myers

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