Sunday, September 26, 2010

"Sensing" God

“…Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.”
                                                                                                     Hebrews 13:5

I think it would be safe to say that many Christians have moments in our life in which we say that we “just don’t feel God” or we just don’t “sense” His presence. I know I have said this…that is, until God finally showed me the truth about Him and His presence. The truth about God’s presence is that when a person asks Christ into their heart, the Holy Spirit takes up residence. Not temporary residence, but permanent residence (Eph. 1:13-14). Christ, the Holy Spirit, and God, the Father, are ONE…the Holy Trinity. So, if you do the math (even someone who is as bad at math as I am can figure this one out!), God is always with His children. Living inside of us is about as close as you can get. However, Satan loves to sell believers the lie that when we fail God, He will abandon His children. When we believe this lie, we begin to pull away from God by spending less time with Him in prayer because we have been told He isn’t listening. We pull away from God by letting His word sit on the night stand beside our bed or remain in the car from the Sunday (or two…or three Sundays) before. Why? Because we have been told the lie that He is so angry with us that He couldn’t possibly have anything to say. Lies, all lies. Today, God is using this post to speak to my heart and to you who feel as though He is far from you. He is speaking to you who are undergoing a very difficult trial with no end in sight; to you who plead, with tears falling, to the God who has done so many great things; to you who wonder, "where is He in all of this?” May your view of God’s presence be changed through this post.

God’s word challenges His people to walk by faith and not by sight. He tells us this because we, as humans, have difficulty applying this concept in the ‘land of the living.” We often need to see it, touch it, smell it, or hear it, to believe it. Too many times we count God out because we don’t feel Him through our 5 senses. As His children, it is crucial that we believe God regardless of what we “feel” (Hebrews ch. 11). This is faith. However, I have also noticed that many times God is showing Himself to me or speaking to me…but it is me who does not notice His presence. God has shown me that in order for me to see or hear Him, I must have a relationship with Him to even recognize His voice, His presence, His fingerprints. Today, I want to share with you examples of how God has made His presence known to me through my 5 senses.

Hearing: Things that I hear are evidence of God’s presence. Listen closely to what you hear around you and you will hear Him. —A few days ago, I was shopping at a small grocery store. It was early in the morning and I had ran in for a few items. I was almost to the check out line when I turned the corner and heard the most beautiful sound… the sound of a man praying. It wasn’t loud and I never saw the man who was praying. But, I heard him. I stopped my buggy and fought back the tears as I listened to this man praying in his office as he began his day at his job. I listened as this man showered our God with praise and adoration.– I know my God is near when I hear the sound of a check being torn from a “check book”. Why? Because as a child, that was one of the first sounds I heard every Sunday morning as I watched my parents write out the check for their tithe, tear it out, and place it in an envelope to put in the offering. That sound was eveidence of God’s presence as He blessed their obedience and how He now meets our every need in my home now.– I know God is with me every time I sit under the reading of His word. I hear His words and they wash over me like water… “If anyone has ears to hear, let him hear.”–Mark 4:23

God is speaking to you also. Do you hear Him through His word?

Touch: I know God’s presence is with me when: – I touch the pots and pans that my grandmother used to cook with. I touched that handle of that pot this week and I recalled the memories of my grandmother’s hand on mine as we cut out biscuits together. I thank God for putting four wonderful grandparents in my life that began a spiritual legacy; –I also was reminded of God’s presence a few days ago, as I felt my 5 year old son take my hand and remind me that we hadn’t said our prayer before school. I was in such a hurry that I almost forgot the most important part of our day, and praise God, it was important to Canaan too.–I feel God as I touch the pages of my Bible. My hands sometimes tremble at the very thought of what I am holding. As my fingers turn page after page of His spoken word, I can just imagine Paul (and many others) sitting for countless hours writing…writing…writing, as God impressed His words upon their hearts. We have His word at our fingertips, yet we don’t even pick it up. “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.”-2 Timothy 3:16-17

Taste: I know God is near me when I thirst for Him and His word… When I was a young girl, I loved to spend the night with my grandparents who lived in the country. Before they had “city water”, they had”well water”. I would stand at the bathroom sink before bedtime and drink a million Dixie cups (it seemed like) of that cold well water. It was so different. The taste wasn’t like anything I’d had before. When I asked my grandmother why it tasted so good, yet so different, she said, “because the well flows from a spring.” Are we tapped into the Spring of Living Water? Or, have we dug our own wells and come up empty? We have become empty in our spiritual life, empty in our marriage, empty in our churches, etc. The closer you grow to God, the more insatiable your appetite becomes for Him and who He is. ”Oh, taste and see that the LORD is good! Blessed is the man who takes refuge in Him!”– Psalm 34:8

Smell: God’s presence is ‘right under my nose’…The night I take my shot for my disease, I mentally prepare myself for the pain that I know will come. Even though it’s painful, the smell of the alcohol gauze pad reminds me that this body is owned and operated by my Lord. It is a temporary body and one day there will be no more pain, no more medicine. I will receive a new perfect body and all the trials of this disease will have been worth it all!! Praise God!! “But our citizenship is in Heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, who, by the power that enables Him to bring everything under His control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like His glorious body.” –Phil. 3:20-21

Seeing: I saved this one as the last of the 5 senses to write about. I believe that through this post, God wants us to know that we can “see” Him all around us, all the time…if we just take the time to look…or smell, taste, touch, or hear. To me, “seeing”, in this case involves discernment. Knowing God’s personality and His fingerprints so well, we immediately recognize Him and His presence. Seeing God is looking at my son, whom God promised to me and Shane when we thought we would never have a child; –Seeing God is looking closely at the precise detail of a daisy or watching the enormous sun rise and set every day.– Seeing God is looking in the mirror and actually seeing my reflection starring back at me, 4 years after being diagnosed with a rare disease. But seeing God around us also involves faith…faith that He understands and sees what we cannot. Seeing God around you isn’t about understanding what you see…it’s about believing that He understands and controls what you are seeing. “For the Lord sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.” –1 Sam. 16:7; “The eyes of the Lord are on the righteous and His ears are attentive to their cry…” Ps. 34:15; ”But he knows the way that I take; when he has tested me, I will come forth as gold.”–Job 23:10

These are just glimpses my God has been so gracious to allow me to see, hear, touch, smell, and taste His presence around me and recall it when I need Him close. His presence is with His children every morning when we rise, throughout the day as we carry on, and during the night as we sleep. I hope you will begin today to refuse to believe the lies of Satan. The lies that say God has abandoned you. Though believing God in complete faith is sometimes a difficult challenge, it is also a challenge to open our eyes to His presence as He comforts us through our senses. No matter how long or how far you’ve walked away from God, tell Him you want to draw near to Him and He will draw near to you (James 4:8 ). It’s really as simple as that.


My prayer for today:

Dear gracious Heavenly Father, may you be exalted above all. For you alone are to be praised and glorified. Thank you for giving me the gift of salvation. And thank you for leaving your Holy Spirit to dwell within me. Thank you for allowing me to know you are close. May I walk by faith in that You will never leave me nor forsake me. Recall to my mind and my senses that you are always close to me…