Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Enjoying God's Presence

2 When you pass through the waters,
   I will be with you;
and when you pass through the rivers,
   they will not sweep over you.
When you walk through the fire,
   you will not be burned;
   the flames will not set you ablaze.
3 For I am the LORD your God,
   the Holy One of Israel, your Savior.

Isaiah 43:2-3

I doubt that any believer feels God's wonderful presence every second of every day. Sometimes we're challenged to simply believe He's with us because He promised (Heb. 13:5). That's faith.

We need to clarify what enjoying God's presence does and does not mean. Don't think because you have struggles, you are not enjoying God's presence. For example, consider that God's Word often tells us not to fear; yet not all our fears are unfounded. Think about it. Our present society poses many real threats.

What does the phrase "when you pass through the rivers" in Isaiah 43:2 suggest to you?
  • God may lead me through some tough places.
  • Walking with God will result in trouble-free living.
  • Swimming classes start at 9:00.

Enjoying God's presence does not mean difficult things don't happen to His children. If nothing frightening will happen to us, how can the assurance of God's constant presence quiet our fears? Psalm 139:7-12 assures us that God's presence is with us always. "Even the darkness will not be dark" to our God. Hebrews 13:5 assures us that "never will I leave you; never will I forsake you." We cannot escape God, but we do not always sense His presence.

God's presence in our lives is absolutely unchanging, but the evidence of His presence varies. Sometimes God may purposely alter the evidence. We may receive the most benefit from seeing many visible prints of His invisible hands during a difficult season. Other times we may profit most from seeing fewer evidences. God does not love us less when He gives us fewer evidences. He simply desires to grow us up and teach us to walk by faith.

What did Jesus say to His disciples in Matthew 14:25-32?
  • "Take courage! It is I."
  • "Take courage! I am calming the storm."
  • "Take courage! God is watching you."

In the midst of a storm Jesus came walking on the water. To His terrified disciples He said: "'Take courage! It is I. Don't be afraid.'" But the storm continued to rage until He got into the boat. The point is not that we have nothing to fear but that His presence is the basis for our courage.

Christ does not always immediately calm the storm, but he is always willing to calm His child on the basis of His presence. "Don't worry! I know the winds are raging and the waves are high, but I am God over both. If I let them continue to swell, it's because I want you to see Me walking on the water." We'll probably never learn to enjoy our storms, but we can learn to enjoy God's presence in the storm!

In Psalm 16:11 David confidently proclaimed, "You will fill me with joy in your presence." The Hebrew word for joy is simchah, which means "glee, gladness, joy, pleasure, rejoice(ing)." We can learn to enjoy God's presence even when life is not enjoyable. I can't explain it, but I've experienced it over and over.

Are you one who always needs a set of prints for reassurance? The most wonderful set of fingerprints God left with His invisible hand is probably within your reach this very moment...His Word. When it all comes down, we either choose to believe or disbelieve God. Once we chose to accept His presence as a fact, we can be free to go on to enjoyment.

-Living Free, Beth Moore. Day 1, Week 6, Pg 89-91

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