What is the presence of the Lord? How does it feel? Where is He present? When is He present?
These are questions asked by many, and most by those who have not yet come to know the Lord, some who are new to the Christian Faith, and those who doubt.
Let's start backwards with the last statement, and make our way forward to the first.
Doubt. Who has doubted the presence of God? Have you ever cried out, "Why me?" or "God, how could you do this to me (or my family, or loved one)?"
During the troubled times in our lives, most of us at some point, have, indeed, uttered those questions. Jesus' own disciples doubted, not once or twice, but frequently. During the storm upon the raging sea, they feared as if they would drown and perish as their boat swayed to and fro, thus doubting the power and intention of our Lord.
It wasn't until Jesus finally went to them and calmed the sea, that their doubts and fears were laid to rest.
And what about Thomas? Did it not take Christ actually asking Thomas to feel the wounds in his side and his hands?
Even Jesus said, "My Lord, why have you forsaken me?"
When tragic or hard circumstances fall upon us, it is easy to feel this way, and as humans, we have a natural tendency to doubt.
God created us. Why do we doubt? When we doubt, we open the door wide for the enemy to come in and toy with us. We become like marionettes, and evil is the puppet master pulling the strings. When this happens, we cry out for God to help us and save us, and when we turn back to Him, He does just that.
Therefore, the doubt really lies with the forces of evil, for as long as we grasp onto the Lord, the Lord grasps onto us, with a strength that surpasses any known, here on Earth. He calms our own inner storms and sees us through.
Hard times, tragedies, take a toll upon us, but don't last forever. These are tests of faith. As Jesus himself was tested in the desert, and then was put to the ultimate test, upon the cross, so we must also be tested to better know and come to the Lord. So during the low and rough times, we need only doubt the evil that lurks in the shadows, waiting to spring upon us, as soon as we turn our eyes from God. For when we call upon the Lord, and trust in Him, evil will always be defeated.
Our Father is always with us through the darkest of times, so that we may better walk in His glorious light. In Isaiah 57:15, we learn: For thus says the high and exalted One who lives forever, whose name is Holy, " I dwell on a high and holy place, And also with the contrite and lowly of spirit in order to revive the spirit of the lowly And revive the heart of the contrite."
Psalm 16:11 provides us with this reassurance as well: You will make known to me the path of life; in Your presence is fullness of joy; in Your right hand there are pleasures forever.
So, now, when is God present?
We just discussed that He is there during difficult times in our lives and He is there when we call upon Him, but is that all? Of course not. God never leaves us, in fact, it is the opposite that is true.
It is we, who turn from Him. God created each of us in His own image. Therefore, God has been present with us, right from the moment we were formed in our mothers' wombs. God knows us before our parents do. He is with us always and we will be one with Him for eternity, as He draws us back to Him at the end of our days.
This is defined in Acts 17:28-- For in Him we live and move and exist, as even some of your own poets have said, "For we also are His children."
Where is God present? In Genesis, we learn that God created the Heavens and the Earth. He separated the darkness from the light, and He created the land and the sea and all living plants and creatures that live within them.
God then created humans, man and woman, His children, in His own likeness. Therefore, He dwells within, without, and all around us. Just look at yourself in the mirror and reflect on all that is good about you.
What are you proud of? What do you love about yourself? God is there.
Have you ever stared in awe at the glory of a sunrise or sunset, the vastness of the starry night sky, the serenity of the ocean's song, the beauty of all the Earth's landscapes--forest, field, mountain, desert, lake, stream, flowers, trees, the joyous sound of children's laughter, the miracle of birth?
God is there. There is an old saying, "If you want to worship God, go to church. If you want to see God, open your front door."
Both worship and acknowledging His presence in the world are ever important to Him. In Jeremiah 29:13, it states: "You will seek Me and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart."
How does it feel to be in the presence of the Lord?
That is an answer that can only come from you. Feelings are of the human being. God created us in His likeness. This is true, but He also created us as unique individuals, different from the other. Even identical twins have their own unique and separate personalities. So to ask how it feels to be in the presence of the Lord, is to receive a wide variety of individual answers, as what may be one experience for one person, may be something else completely, to another.
That being said, I can only speak for myself, in saying that when I am in the presence of the Lord, I feel a physical tingling throughout my body. I feel spiritually lifted, comforted, and at peace, while also having an overwhelming feeling of awe simultaneously. I am able to breath deep His essence and drink in His love.
Lastly, what is the presence of the Lord? In Genesis, we also learn that God is the Alpha and Omega. In Exodus, He is the great I Am. In the Gospels, He comes to us in the human form of Jesus Christ, our Savior, who breathed the Holy Spirit into his disciples so that it may be spread to all mankind.
God is ever present and ever perfect in all of creation. In me and you, in each plant and animal upon the Earth, in the land, the sea, the sky, the heavens, and all throughout His holy kingdom. That is the presence of the Lord.
Revelation 4:1-11--4 After this I looked, and behold, a door standing open in heaven! And the first voice, which I had heard speaking to me like a trumpet, said, “Come up here, and I will show you what must take place after this.” At once I was in the Spirit, and behold, a throne stood in heaven, with one seated on the throne. And he who sat there had the appearance of jasper and carnelian, and around the throne was a rainbow that had the appearance of an emerald.
Around the throne were twenty-four thrones, and seated on the thrones were twenty-four elders, clothed in white garments, with golden crowns on their heads. From the throne came flashes of lightning, and rumblings and peals of thunder, and before the throne were burning seven torches of fire, which are the seven spirits of God, and before the throne there was as it were a sea of glass, like crystal.
And around the throne, on each side of the throne, are four living creatures, full of eyes in front and behind: the first living creature like a lion, the second living creature like an ox, the third living creature with the face of a man, and the fourth living creature like an eagle in flight. And the four living creatures, each of them with six wings, are full of eyes all around and within, and day and night they never cease to say, "Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord God Almighty, who was and is and is to come!”
And whenever the living creatures give glory and honor and thanks to him who is seated on the throne, who lives forever and ever, the twenty-four elders fall down before him who is seated on the throne and worship him who lives forever and ever. They cast their crowns before the throne, saying; "Worthy are you, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things, and by your will they existed and were created.”
This is the presence of God. He endures forever. May His goodness and mercy follow us all the days of our lives. Amen.
(By Laurie Moulton) 06/05/19