All day, I have continued to ponder Day 4’s revelation.
I’ve been in St. Louis the last two days on business. We had a big custom demo to deliver today to a potentially large customer. The room had about 12-15 people in it of many nationalities and I expect it was likely a big salad bowl of beliefs. I didn’t ask, but I would guess there were Muslims, Buddhists, possibly a Hindu or two, and then I expect a big mix of “Protestant” faiths… probably had an atheist and an agnostic thrown in amongst the crowd.
As I began to dwell on the reality of the physical office building and conference room and that God’s presence fills up every inch of space there, I wondered why more people don’t see, know, and relate with God.
It was a similar experience on the flight home. I’ve flown enough over the years that I get to board early, and I sat in row 10 and watched almost everyone board that plane – it is one of my favorite things to do on a flight is to watch every person board… weird, I know… I guarantee there were all kinds of faiths and non-faiths alike on that flight… even more than I listed above. And yet, the TRUTH is this – God’s presence filled every cavity, overhead, cabin, seat-back, snack cart and square inch of that 757 including the luggage compartment and the air around the plane as we flew from St. Louis to Dallas. Think about it… that plane flew through the presence of God from takeoff to touchdown – and yet, how many people had no idea. Many of them don’t know, don’t acknowledge, or worse, don’t care that The God of the universe, The Creator of every living thing, is “in da house” and is right up in every one of our faces – all the time – every moment of every day – every day of our lifetime – close enough to feel the breath we breath and be tickled by our eyelashes when we blink… yet we sit there unaware… How are we so ignorant of the truth? How am I so ignorant of the truth of His presence?
I shudder to think of how many flights I’ve flown and been in one of those categories – didn’t know, didn’t acknowledge, didn’t care… I cringe at how many days I’ve been on this planet and walked utterly oblivious to Him – either intentionally or in ignorance. Thank you Lord for your mercy, your unfailing love, and your consistent, gentle presence always in my present – even when I wasn’t aware.
This contemplation has progressed to wonder why many I – and likely many in the Church – associate the presence of God with some sort of one-at-a-time experiences or “special and infrequent event”. How many times have I said, “The presence of God was really powerful today”, or “God really showed up today in worship”…. really?
Today my question is: When did God’s presence leave? I didn’t hear an announcement… “Attention, God has left the building…. repeat, God has left the building.” (Yes, that was an Elvis throwback for those old enough to remember…)
David wrote it best…
Psalms 139 5 You go before me and follow me. You place your hand of blessing on my head.
6 Such knowledge is too wonderful for me, too great for me to understand!
7 I can never escape from your Spirit! I can never get away from your presence!
8 If I go up to heaven, you are there; if I go down to the grave,* you are there.
9 If I ride the wings of the morning, if I dwell by the farthest oceans,
10 even there your hand will guide me, and your strength will support me.
11 I could ask the darkness to hide me and the light around me to become night—
12 but even in darkness I cannot hide from you. To you the night shines as bright as day. Darkness and light are the same to you.
Paul said it similarly in Romans
Romans 8:38-39 (NKJV) 38 For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, 39 nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
I’ve been guilty of this. I am currently more often than not guilty of this. I think my theology might be askew to assume that God’s presence “comes and goes”. I believe it was true in the Old Testament as there are numerous examples of God’s presence coming and going. But the Scripture is fairly clear that after Jesus’ resurrection and the pouring out of the Holy Spirit – that He was here to stay. I’ve not found where the Holy Spirit bugged out.
I’m sure I think this way because of the Church culture and mindset in which I grew up and live in.
Take, for example, the lyrics of a LONG TIME FAVORITE worship song… One I have lead many times.
I`m here to meet with you
Come and meet with me
I`m here to find you,
reveal yourself to me
As I wait, you make me strong
As I long, draw me to your arms
As I stand and sing your praise
You come, you come and you fill this place
Won`t you come, Won`t you come and fill this place
"MEET WITH ME" BY TEN SHEKEL SHIRT
Did you catch the lyrics… “won’t you come, won’t you come and fill this place?”
Didn’t we already establish that God’s presence is everywhere, all the time, every day of our lives?
To where is He going to come… or go for that matter? Is He or is He not Omnipresent?
Yes, I’ve had a major shift in my perspective and understanding and ultimately my Theology. Instead of viewing God presence as “come and go,” as my current theology-view is, I think it to be more accurate to say ” I CHOOSE to recognize and live in His ever-present presence” or “I CHOOSE to ignore His ever-present presence”.
Psalms 46:1 (NIV) God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.
Regardless of what I CHOOSE – the TRUTH is that His Presence is still present and is always everywhere…
I’m choosing to live in His present presence…. Lord, open the eyes of my heart to always recognize and see your Presence in my present.
… Running After Papa