August 3, 2016 | by: Maureen Maniquis | 0 Comments
Posted in: Gospel Living
The sky is a deep shade of charcoal and the thunder is shaking the walls. It’s early morning but I need to put the lights on so I can see my keyboard. This is not a typical Florida morning. I usually feel like I need sunglasses inside my house. I remember as a kid when the thunder would roll across the sky the adults would say the angels were bowling. It was their way of making us feel at ease when we were scared. But, in fact, it made us aware of the presence of God. To speak of His angels drew our attention to the source of the power.
What does it mean to be in the presence of God? It sounds so other-worldly, so transcendent. It can bring up images of sudden atmospheric changes like dark ominous clouds or bright blinding beams of sunlight. Scenes of old epic movies come to mind with great dramatic affects and booming voices. These were extraordinary Biblical moments but certainly not the everyday.
Have you ever felt the presence of God? Have you ever longed for His presence? Perhaps you’ve wanted to flee from it at times, angry over certain circumstances of life. How ironic that we actually think we can either flee or miss the omnipresent God? The Biblical narrative is filled with people whose lives are either longing for or running from His presence. David spoke in Psalm 139:7-8, “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.” No matter whether we feel God or not His presence doesn’t change. The only change is what occurs in us. We are always in a constant shuffle of steps-- moving one step toward or one step away from the One who gives us life. Why is this?
We seem to have a hard time with mystery, uncertainty or the unknown. We need answers. We want our problems solved. We want peace. We tend to live in the moment. And when that thunder shakes up the circumstances of our lives, in our sophisticated adulthood, the bowling of angels just doesn’t cut it. We want those charcoal clouds to part and those bright beams of light to pierce through. We want an epic moment. We are anxious for this storm to move on out. And when the clouds don’t part and the storm stalls in place we can question the very source of this power and His presence.
We are emotional beings and made to be so. But we aren’t meant to be ruled by them. They are a gift to enrich life. Our emotions enable us to experience feelings of love, empathy, beauty, laughter and yes, sorrow. But they can also be painfully deceitful. How often have you misread a situation and acted poorly out of emotion only to regret it later?
When we assume God is absent because He isn’t changing our circumstances we are actually trying to flee from His presence. But, if these epic moments are rare, then how can we know when we are in His presence?
“In the beginning the Word already existed. The Word was with God and the Word was God. He existed in the beginning with God. God created everything through Him and nothing was created except through Him. The Word gave life to everything that was created, and His life brought life to everyone.” John 1:1-5 NLT
The Word of God is His very presence. It is a living revelation of Him to us. When we spend time in His Word we are spending time with Him in his presence. When we understand this truth and approach the Word in light of it, epic may not be so rare. In His presence He reveals His nature and character to us. He lifts the veil of His secret mysteries little by little---so we can grasp them---one glimpse at a time. There is so much beauty under His veil, so much power, so much love; we can scarcely take it in without being overcome. But He wants us to know Him, so he is gentle with us, knowing our frailty. He speaks to us sotto voce—softly, in a whisper, privately. Like a father with his little one, he tenderly teaches us the things we need to know. He is training us, preparing us for a life well lived.
Are you in his presence? Have you seen a glimpse of what’s under the veil? Have you felt his hand cup over your ear as he whispers his tender Words of love and grace to you? Are you ready for an epic life?
“Then show me your glorious presence.” Exodus 33:18 NLT
Maureen Maniquis moved to Florida 10 years ago from Bern, Switzerland where she and her husband were living for 6 years while working at the American Embassy. While there, they helped plant an English speaking church in the heart of the city that still thrives today to meet the needs of expats who desire to be a part of a community of fellow believers. Maureen has been a part of the Restoration Church Core Team since its plant in 2010 and currently serves on the Hospitality Team and Prayer Team and will be a regular contributor to our blogs. She has published a book of her memoirs and is a passionate writer on Gospel living and pointing people to the heart of Jesus. maureenmaniquis-blog.com