If someone was to ask me what is the most profound realization that I have ever known, ever experienced, I would have to answer that it is to be in the presence of God. I know that there may be some that say that experience is not what we are to rely on, and I agree but it is our faith and trust in God that brings us into His presence, so I’m thinking that the one naturally leads into the other. There is a joy that defies explanation when God’s presence is experienced and I am convinced that it is He that initiates it, that it originates from Him and we are the recipients. He allows us to experience of Himself and it is truly wonderful. And, most importantly, nothing that is experienced can go against what God tells us of Himself and about ourselves, in His Holy Word. This is always of the utmost importance because emotions and feelings must be within the confines of what God has authorized and has made known to us as acceptable, within His Word.
And I have also learned that there are different ways in which God’s presence can be experienced.
God’s Holy Word
Through studying and thinking on God’s Word, there have been many times when He has been very close, in the sense that I can feel the communion, feel the oneness with Him. I don’t know about you but there have been numerous times when studying God’s Word that I have just said “Wow “and almost immediately had to enter into prayer, key words being “had to”, because there was an overwhelming need to pray. There is a profound truth that we are connected to God through His Word. His Word is our bread, our manna, and as always, God’s Word leads us to the feet of Jesus, as our Father has ordained it is to be. You just can’t go wrong by being in God’s Word.
Sometimes God makes His presence known via worship in music, when the flood gates of gratitude and adoration overwhelm me and this also is a gift. It doesn’t always happen, sometimes I’m just going through the motions of singing etc, but there are distinct times when God’s Holy Spirit makes His presence known and the love and adoration and gratitude flow. There are usually tears associated with His presence in this manner, that well up from within me and need to be expressed, need to flow, because the realization of God is so overwhelming. This also is a beautiful thing. Sometimes it is just me singing alone but most times it is when I am at Church, within our local body of Christians, corporately worshiping God together. And, as always, this emphasizes the need to collectively worship, learn and serve one another in the Church, the body of Christ.
Sometimes when in prayer, God makes Himself known to me, not always, not often in a stronger intensity, but sometimes He just does. When God’s Holy Spirit steps outside of our own words and helps us come into His presence, when prayer loses it’s earthly connotation and our true needs are made known, both to ourselves and to God, in our own ears, via words out of our mouths that come from God’s Spirit within us. It’s like the wrappers come off and the needs and desires are pure and true, without earthly restraint or consideration. You just know that you know that this is true prayer, unadulterated prayer, communion at it’s deepest level. The desires of our hearts crying out to our God. This also is a gift that originates from God and it is a beautiful thing. God doesn’t need us to pray to Him to know what we need, He already knows, God asks us to pray to Him because we need prayer, to search our hearts, to cleanse us from our earthly ways and to learn how to be in communion with Him, to cut through the crud and be real with Him so that He can be real with us.
The Holy Spirit
Sometimes God’s Holy Spirit, just like the wind, seems to come out of nowhere and open doors of compassion within us for others. We see and hear differently, our hearts are touched and we respond effortlessly, with our whole heart, without any restraint. Loving someone becomes the easiest thing to do and words of encouragement and compassion flow. This also is a gift, beyond our own capabilities. It would be great if for me, this happened to everyone that I meet, but this is not my experience. Some people are hard to love, difficult to accommodate and even harder to get to know. I call them time projects, and inevitably I receive insight about my own imperfect ways. God is teaching me about myself by the people that He puts before me. I’m not always keen about what He shows me about myself, but I do need to know, I do need to look deeper.
Sometimes God just shows us of Himself when we least suspect it, out of the blue so to speak, in unique ways. I’ve seen and heard about this in others in ways that are similar to my experience but still a little different. Many years ago, during a Full Gospel Business Men’s luncheon, God allowed me to come into His presence for maybe a few seconds or a minute. We (men and women) were collectively standing and worshiping God, when the sound in the room dissipated to total silence in my ears and I became aware of God’s presence in a way that I had never before or since experienced. I did not see anything, I did not hear anything, I just experienced Him. He was Holy, so different from me. The difference between Him and me was immense. Holy is not a word, I felt as if it radiated from Him. I experienced three things simultaneously, within a nanosecond. God was Holy, I was not and He loved me. I know why the prophets of old fell to their knees when the Angel of the Lord appeared to them in the Old Testament, I would have too, but the experience was too short. I can’t explain what I felt about myself other than I knew beyond a doubt that I was not like God. And yet, the most over powering awareness was His love. Total, overwhelming, at a level that I had never ever experienced, beyond words. I did NOT want to leave His presence. I could have stayed there forever. I wanted to stay in His presence forever. And then, the sound in the room gradually started to come back and His presence was gone. I was married with three children at that time. I love my wife and children with all of my heart but nothing compared to being in His presence, in His love.
I have no idea why God did this. I can speculate but that is all that it is, speculation. Since that time, I have been in His presence many times, but at and within the confines of the paragraphs above that I initially told you about, what I would call within the norms that is available to all of us who believe. Since that time I have spent a good amount of time coming to terms with the sin that resides within this body I inhabit. I understand the fight that each of us deals with, how my spirit has been reborn and that God’s Holy Spirit resides within me. Yet this body, this earthly nature of mine still lives and there is a constant battle. But …. one day, this body will die and one day … God has told me that I will be given a new body, that does not have this internal battle within, that will be like the resurrected body that Jesus has, because He, Jesus, is the firstborn.
When I say that God loves you and me, who trust and have faith in His Son, Jesus the Messiah, I say it from within the realization that I have experienced. I wish I could tell you that I always have this realization in the forefront of my mind but that would not be true. Sometimes I forget, sometimes the earthly part of me crowds God’s Holy Spirit within me. And sometimes I have to remind myself of what God showed me. But do know this: God’s love for you surpasses anything that you can imagine.
Worthy is the Lamb! Blessings!