In my last post we looked at God’s presence in our trial [God IS Present in the Trial (Day 4)] and reminded ourselves of Who He is and His indwelling presence as well as encircling presence to each of us.
Returning to The Red Sea Rules, by Robert J. Morgan, four principles guide us in mastering the practice of the presence of God. I think great benefit can come from affirming these propositions as I endeavor to stay committed to a “no dairy, no sugar” fast through the month of March. Not only that, but I believe, even in the trenches with a newborn or waiting on another court date for the adoption process or in the hospital like my nephew (waiting for a stem cell transplant), or anything we may be facing, God’s presence in our trial can make the difference.
First, Affirm His nearness in your heart – throughout the Bible we find God’s people affirming this reality in their hearts. Like we find the psalmist doing when he declared in Psalm 139:5-6,
“You have hedged me behind and before. . .. Such knowledge is too wonderful.”
As a child I participated in the BMA program (Bible Memory Association) and thus, I will forever be grateful to my parents for making that a requirement. It is memorizing and claiming Scripture that rouses our hearts and minds of God’s presence. Ironically, as I trained my core for a herniated disc, my physical therapist would tell me to concentrate on holding the muscles taut and before long I would be doing it without even thinking. The same is true as we affirm God’s nearness by claiming His promises and reciting Scripture. It will not be long before it becomes a natural practice, and we find God’s word flowing through our thoughts throughout the day.
Second, Visualize God’s presence in your life. I love to envision sitting at the feet of Jesus as I study and pray. As Robert Morgan attests, “The biblical writers used such imagery.” He goes on to use several examples such as the Apostle Paul “facing the Roman tribunal, [who] reported, ‘At my first defense no one stood with me, but all forsook me. … But the Lord stood with me and strengthened me’” (2 Timothy 4:16-17). Whatever the situation, we can visualize and be assured God is right there with us in the trial!
Third, Access God’s nearness through prayer. Morgan explains during his devotional time, he came across James 4:8, “Draw near to God, and He will draw near to you.” He wondered How? His cross-reference took him to Deuteronomy 4:7 (NIV), and I LOVE what he found. “What other nation is so great as to have their gods near them the way the LORD our God is near us whenever we pray to him?”
The best way to develop an abiding awareness of God’s presence is to speak to Him often in prayer. Prayer is the environment in which we most solidly connect with God on an intimate basis. We may not always feel His presence in an emotional sense, but by faith we enter His presence in a vital spiritual sense.Morgan
Fourth, Reflect His presence in your demeanor. One amazing modern-day example of reflecting God’s presence in their demeanor is Joni Eareckson Tada. Living with quadriplegia for well over fifty years and yet, she displays, consistently, a smile that reflects God’s love and presence. What a role model we can all emulate and for whom we can pray as she represents our great God to so many needing His presence.
Right now, find a Scripture verse that affirms God’s presence and put it to memory! Here is a good one – Hebrews 13:5b, NKJV:
“I will never leave you nor forsake you.”