It’s Monday Grace!
I have always appreciated the sentiment of the little girl who was afraid of being left alone in her room in the dark. She wanted her mom or dad to stay with her. But the dad told her not to be afraid because Jesus was with her. She answered, “But I want someone with skin on.”
When you are afraid, or sad, or lonely, you want someone to be with you. Jesus says that He will be with us always, even through the Valley of the Shadow of Death. But if you can’t see Him or feel Him or hear His voice, how can you be assured of His presence?
We have two problems. First, we have learned to believe only what our physical senses tell us. Unless I see it with my eyes, hear it with my ears, smell it with my nose, taste it with my mouth, or touch it with my skin—I can’t “know” it is real. That’s what we have been taught by our experience and teachers. “Real” means verifiable by our senses.
As we mature, however, we begin to realize that even our own senses betray us. What we see is not necessarily real. And we learn that some things we don’t see can be just as real as we are. Our senses are not enough.
But the second thing may be more serious. Most of us grew up being afraid of God. Maybe just a little or maybe a lot. I have known people who considered themselves Christians who were afraid of being in the presence of the Lord. They feared death because they did not want to face God. If you are afraid of someone, you don’t want to think of that person being near.
When God is presented as angry and spiteful, we become afraid of Him. That seems natural to me. I don’t want to be around people who want to hit me or hurt me. I am uncomfortable around people who judge me negatively. If that’s what I thought of God, I wouldn’t want to think of Him being with me.
We also still struggle with the things of the flesh. The flesh is drawn to sin. Sometimes we choose to sin, and we don’t like to think about the Lord being with us. We want God to protect us as we drive, for example, but we don’t want Him to see or comment on the things we say or think about other drivers. We often want God to remain at a distance.
So, here’s the thing: we have trained ourselves not to be aware of the presence of God. The legalists fear God’s wrath. The compromisers are embarrassed.
Under grace, we learn that we have nothing to fear from God. In fact, it is His love that calls our attention to the dangers of sin. His love for us is consistent and strong. There is peace for us in His presence.
Pray. Ask for an awareness of His presence. He is with you, whether you know it or not. Ask that you would feel His nearness more. Ask that He would overcome the flesh and fill your spirit with His love.
Then watch for Him. He is near. Always. He loves you.