The Palpable Presence of God.
“I know the Lord is always with me. I will not be shaken, for He is right beside me.” – Psalm 16:8 NLT
I remember a trip we took as a family to Carlsbad, New Mexico. Our reason for going was simple: To visit Carlsbad Caverns. I had been there as a child and now I wanted my kids to see it. The highlight of a tour of these magnificent caverns is always the point at which they turn off the lights and allow you to stand in absolute, pitch-black darkness. It is a darkness so dense and complete you can almost feel it. They tell you to put your hand in front of your face. Nothing. You can see absolutely nothing. It is an eerie feeling. When I read the passage above and think about the presence of God, that experience in the darkness of Carlsbad Caverns comes to mind. For David, God’s presence was so real, it was palpable. He could feel it surrounding him. Nothing else mattered. He couldn’t see anything else because his thoughts of God completely filled his mind. Was this all the time? Probably not, but there were moments when he could sense God’s presence so strongly that nothing else mattered.
At those moments, David could say, “No wonder my heart is glad, and I rejoice. My body rests in safety” (Psalms 16:9 NLT). His awareness of God’s presence filled him with peace, joy, and contentment. He knew he had nothing to fear. He could say to God, “You will show me the way of life, granting me the joy of your presence and the pleasures of living with You forever” (Psalm 16:11 NLT). When the all-pervasive presence of God surrounded him, David knew he was going to have all he needed for life. But David wasn’t content to sit around and just wait for some ethereal, feelings-dependent experience to take place to convince him of God’s presence. He went back to the word of God. He stood on the promises of God. He read the Scriptures provided by God. And when he did, he experienced a reviving of his soul, wisdom (Psalm 19:7), joy, insight for living (Psalm 19:8), reverence for God (Psalm 19:9), refreshment (Psalm 19:10), warning and reward (Psalm 19:11), and an awareness of the sins in his life (Psalm 19:13).
The Word of God is the revelation of God. It is a glimpse into who He is. So when we read the Word of God, we become more aware of God and learn to sense His presence in and around our lives. We begin to see how He works. We begin to get a grasp of His divine plan and how He interacts with men and women. Our trials become opportunities to see Him work, not just inconvenient experiences that we try to pray away. We learn that He is more powerful than our biggest problem. David knew God because he had read about God. Not all we know about God will come from our own experience. Most of it will come from His self-revelation – through His written Word and the Living Word, His Son Jesus Christ. As I get to know both better, I will sense His presence in my life more completely and consistently. His presence will begin to surround me like the darkness in that cavern in Carlsbad, New Mexico. But rather than make me feel uncomfortable and uneasy, God’s presence will provide me with peace, joy, contentment, rest, and a healthy trust in His faithfulness – no matter what is happening around me.
Father, keep me in Your Word. Open my eyes to your powerful and pervasive presence. Help me learn more and more about You so that I can sense You in my life. You surround me at all times. There is no time when You are not there. The problem is that I cannot see or sense You. I have filled my mind with other things. I have allowed the things of this world to become my reality, instead of You. I want You to become my reality. I want to learn to sense You even when I can’t see You. Amen
Grow Pastor & Minister to Men