Practicing God’s Presence
As a youngster, I had a friend who stuck closer than a brother. His name was Teddy, and lest you think that I met a Theodore at school, church or in the neighborhood, and he became my bosom buddy, Teddy was my stuffed bear. (Incredibly creative name, don’t you think?) No one but me could understand the attraction; he was an ordinary bear to the unperceptive eye. My mom rescued him from the attic of our first home, which had also been her childhood home. A little washing, a little fluffing, and I was in love! No other stuffed character ever matched Teddy’s appeal. Teddy was my constant nighttime companion and was a big part of my daytime play as well. I talked his ear off (almost literally), and the testament to Teddy’s friendship and faithfulness in my life is his presence in a plastic bag on my closet shelf. Despite his ragged and haggard appearance, I just couldn’t bear to get rid of him.
Twice this week in my devotional time, I’ve come across the phrase, “practice the presence of Christ.” As believers, we can always count on God to be with us, but how does one keep himself fully aware of His constant companionship? There are two exercises that instantly come to mind: prayer, along with reading, understanding and memorizing God’s Word.
Unlike Teddy, one cannot see God nor physically touch His being, but He is always there. He does not listen to us with stuffed ears that perceive nothing, but with a compassionate ear and a heart that hears prayers, cares about our needs and “works for the good of those who love Him who have been called according to His purpose” Romans 8:28. He is so attuned to our person and our needs that He even knows those needs before we verbalize them. To speak to Him in prayer confirms and nurtures one’s relationship with Him and allows Him the place to speak back to us in various ways.
While Teddy never entered into the long talks that I initiated, God does! Some will hear the “still small voice” that God can use to speak to the hearts of those who have a relationship with Him. Sometimes God will use circumstances to speak volumes to His children, or He will use the words of others to make an impact on people’s lives. Certainly, God uses His own Word, His letter to humanity, to express His desires, commands, love and grace that He holds for those who follow Him, and to call to those who do not yet know Him in a personal way. When one reads the Bible and makes the literal words and the concepts a part of his being, God can bring those verses and passages to his mind and heart when guidance, comfort or even correction is needed. Taking time to read the Bible and memorize its precious promises, timely advice, and apt cautions will open a direct line of communication to the heart of God. This discipline, combined with prayer, will help one to recognize and acknowledge God’s presence every day.
Goodbye, Teddy. Hello, most gracious, loving Lord! Your presence is my heart’s desire, both now and in eternity. Thank you for the ways that You make yourself known and that I can daily experience Your love and care in my life. Amen!
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