Have you felt the certain presence of God? For me, this has happened while listening to a song, or during a moment in community with others, or in a quiet stillness in nature. In these moments I feel the presence of the Spirit like a sharp wind through my soul; an intense intimacy with God. These moments are so powerful for me, and I can’t grasp why others don’t feel this exact same way!
But sometimes a praise song is just words on a screen. Or a walk in the woods is simply that – nothing more. God speaks to each of us in so many ways! It is important to be aware of where and how God is speaking so we open our heart to God’s presence. But it is also important to be aware that a seemingly meaningless moment for me could be a deeply spiritual moment for another.
As I was contemplating this writing, I asked my son if he had ever felt the presence of God. That is kind of a heavy question for a 6-year-old! He’s been fed the lesson that God is with him all the time, but has he felt it? He did say that yes, he has felt the presence of God – and it is like Jesus is sitting right there beside him. He couldn’t name an exact moment, but I have no doubt that young child has felt the presence of God.
The group For King & Country has a song on its new album – “To the Dreamers” – which describes this in a beautiful way:
“When you feel it, once you see it, and you breathe it: it’s unforgettable.
When you know it, once you know it, and you hold it: it’s unforgettable.”
This faith thing, a relationship with God, is difficult to explain to someone who hasn’t experienced it, who hasn’t lived it; Someone who hasn’t felt God’s presence in such a real way that there are no questions left to ask, and nothing left in that moment to understand.
I believe we are called to tell others about this unforgettable joy found in the presence of God. As Paul writes to the Romans:
How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? And how can anyone preach unless they are sent? As it is written: “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!” Romans 10:14-15
Yet I am hesitant to enter into conversation with someone that comes from a hard factual place, and can’t speak and work through questions of faith without the experience of faith and the knowledge of a present, living God. I feel as if I could “fight” all day, but in the end, I don’t think that my words would convince that God is real.
So we need to recognize when continued argument is futile. At that point, we get off of the soapbox and let the way we live be a witness to our belief instead of words and doctrine. And we pray that all people may be filled with this complete joy that can only come from God’s presence.
Therefore my heart is glad and my tongue rejoices; my body also will rest secure, because you will not abandon me to the realm of the dead, nor will you let your faithful one see decay. You make known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand. Psalm 16:9-11