October 6, 2010

To Live is Christ — joyful in His presence

After reading and studying the Bible for almost forty years, I occasionally find myself thinking of God as represented by artists. I know that God the Son became the man Jesus Christ, but God is not limited by time and space like we are. God is spirit and He is everywhere.
“Can anyone hide in secret places so that I cannot see him?” declares the Lord. “Do not I fill heaven and earth?” declares the Lord. (Jeremiah 23:24)
One theologian says that the nearest thing he can do to imagine God is air. Me too. Air is everywhere, at least to us who inhabit earth. It surrounds us and it permeates everything.

The big difference of course is that air is inert, without personality. While it moves at times with great power, air cannot hear and answer prayer, forgive sin, or heal the sick. Contrasting God, as the above verse says, air cannot see me either.

In context (see yesterday’s post), this verse is God’s answer to those who try to hide from Him. God says they are deceiving themselves. Hiding from God is impossible. Before Christ came into my life, I may have tried it; I don’t remember. Now, I cannot imagine wanting to flee from His presence. Because I know Him, knowing that He fills heaven and earth and knowing that He sees me is great comfort.

Sensing the presence of God is very much like sensing the presence of a visible person. The young woman that had been living with us since April moved out last week. She worked shifts, so sometimes when she was here, she was sleeping during the day and very quiet. Nevertheless, I sensed her presence. Now that she is gone, I notice that sense of her is missing — and I miss her.

It is like that with God. Most of the time I am very aware of His presence. I can talk to Him and He speaks to my heart. I am comforted to know that I am never alone, and to know that He is watching over me.

During the trials of life, His presence is especially meaningful. Through one particularly difficult time, a song, “You are There,”  became my prayer and the anchor that kept me encouraged. The words of this song came from a Psalm.

Where can I go from Your Spirit? Or where can I flee from Your presence? If I ascend into heaven, You are there; If I make my bed in hell, behold, You are there. If I take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea, even there Your hand shall lead me, and Your right hand shall hold me. (Psalm 139:7–10)
The presence of God is not a fearful thing to those who know Him through faith in Jesus Christ. Instead, He is here to comfort, guide, encourage, stabilize and care for me. He also fills my heart with peace. If anyone sees me smiling for no reason at all, it is because I know God is with me — and I am simply joyful in His presence!

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