Hungry for God’s presence
Being at Bethany last week has re-awakened in me a hunger and thirst for the presence of God. Not that I didn’t already have this hunger – but it has been stirred up significantly in recent days. I want to taste and see the goodness of God on a daily basis. One of my areas of ministry is preparing and leading worship for our church intercessory team and I am sensing a deep desire to see our church intercessors move more fully into the presence and glory of God. I also desire this for our small groups and small group leaders.
But isn’t God everywhere? True, He is. Theologians call this “God’s omnipresence” (omni is Latin for everywhere). King David expressed his awareness of God’s omnipresence like this ( Psalm 139:7-10 ),
Where can I go from your Spirit?
Where can I flee from your presence?
If I go up to the heavens, you are there;
if I make my bed in the depths, you are there.
If I rise on the wings of the dawn,
if I settle on the far side of the sea,
even there your hand will guide me,
your right hand will hold me fast.
However, I believe that David wasn’t just stating an abstract theological truth, he was communicating an experience. In other words, David didn’t just believe intellectually that God was present everywhere; He consciously sensed God’s presence everywhere.
Powerful experiences of the presence of God are not new. There are many examples of this in the Bible. Here are just a few :
- Moses and the bush that was burning but was not consumed
- Elijah and the fire from heaven on Mount Carmel
- Elijah and the still small voice in which he sensed the presence of God
- Healing miracles at the command of Jesus
- The Transfiguration of Jesus
- The outpouring of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost
- Paul’s experience of being caught up to the third heaven
- John’s experience of the majesty of Jesus described in Revelation chapter 1
Such experiences always result in a sense of awe, wonder and holy fear at the power and holiness of God.
I believe that Jesus Christ is returning sometime in the next generation. He told us we would not know the day or the hour of his return, but he did say that we can tell the times and seasons, and he left us many signs which are being fulfilled in our day. The people of God will be tested as never before, and there will be intense persecution. Many will fall away before the Lord returns, but there will also be greater revelations of God’s glory than ever before, as the glorious bride (the believing, enduring church) is prepared for her bridegroom (Jesus).
If this is correct, then it is more important than ever that we learn to endure. The shallow, soft, me-centred Christianity of much of the North American church will not stand the test. Only a church that has learned to be intimate with the Lord will be able to stand and thrive in the Last Days.
We are made for intimacy with God and He delights to respond to our hunger for Him. I want to see the glory of God revealed in greater measure. We all go through many little tests in our lives. How we respond to these little tests is an indicator of how we will do when the big tests come. Will we be paralyzed with fear or will we confidently lift our heads, knowing that our redemption is near? I want to be among those who are confident in God because I know Him intimately and have learned to feed on every word of His mouth and to drink of the living water of His Spirit. I want that for you too.