Here’s a seriously strange confession from me: there have been moments in life when I’ve questioned God’s existence.
Actually, I should more accurately say this: there’ve been moments when I’ve questioned God’s presence in my own little existence.
I know. It sounds odd hearing that from me – a woman who runs a women’s Christian ministry. But you know what? I’m human. And we can be a cynical, disbelieving bunch, we human beings. I mean, one of our most often used phrases is, “I’ll believe it when I see it.” And if I don’t see it (or FEEL it), does it really exist?
Just because we can’t see something, it doesn’t mean it isn’t there. A caterpillar inching along a leaf in a large tree may see the leaf itself, but not notice it’s attached to a gorgeous oak tree. Likewise, a person admiring the tree from a short distance away may very well not see that cutie, tiny caterpillar on the leaf. Regardless of the visibility of the tree (OR the caterpillar) to the observer, both exist.
The presence of God also exists, regardless of our ability to sense it. The COOL thing is that we see the pattern of this assurance from Genesis (the very first book of our Holy Bible) all the way to Revelation (the final book).
Experiencing the presence of God is something so intimate that scripture records the following:
- He planned you from the beginning of time;
- He was there/orchestrated your conception;
- He attended your birth;
- He willed you to take your first breath;
- He knows every single breath you will ever take;
- He bends down to listen anytime you ask;
- He delights in delighting YOU (so cool right?);
- He gets you out of messes;
- He protects you even when you don’t know or think you need protecting;
- He is there when your eyes finally close to this world;
- and…He meets you the moment your soul takes flight and He welcomes you home for eternity.
So with all that Truth just begging us to believe that we are ALWAYS in His presence, why aren’t we always living in awe of Him in our lives? It’s because there are things, people, and circumstances that pull us away from experiencing God.
Rob Bell, in his book, How to Be Here, says the disconnect can begin with something as simple as an everyday distraction, and then easily move on to boredom, then cynicism, and finally despair.
So how do we protect ourselves from those things? How do we STAY connected to the wonder of the presence of God in times when we feel so very alone?
We begin by taking each one of those scenarios and turning the tables on them!
For instance, the opposite of distraction is mindfulness and focus, right? Well then, anchor yourself in the present moment, even if you have to create something tangible to do it – like our poppy stickers from our goodie bags this session or even a quick moment or two of mindful meditation on His goodness.
Purposeful activity combats boredom. I place devotional books or inspirational music around so if I start to feel bored of my everyday routines of driving or even tedious work, I can take a few minutes to reconnect to His goodness without getting lost in mindless activity. Listen to a quick podcast or watch a video of your favorite spiritual teacher for some inspiration.
Surrounding yourself with people, activities, and environments that are life giving (instead of “battery drains”) chases away cynicism and feelings of “why me” and “why NOT me”! I go to the Arboretum to drink in His beautiful creation. I call a friend who always lifts me up and makes me giggle. I take a yoga class and breathe deeply. Anything that moves my mind up and out of the temptation of complaint and self-pity works here!
Despair is a place and experience that we will all find ourselves in at one time or another. Fortunately, most of us don’t stay there long. But if and when you do find yourself at a loss for purpose and hope (because that IS what despair is), my advice is to seek medical, therapeutic and pastoral assistance. All three can help lessen the depth and length of that you spend in that gulley and place you back into a mindset of experiencing God’s healing presence.
Finally, remember our first week of this series and the one question we asked you? (You know the one: how do you know that you KNOW that YOU KNOW God is good and is with you?) Well, if ever you start to feel at a loss for His beautiful presence, I want you to go back to that question and pay attention to your response. However you answered it, let that be your first line of defense. Because it’s your own, personal, GO TO thing that returns you to the knowledge of God’s presence in your life. Let it anchor you to the truth that He’s never left you, not even for a nanosecond.
Following along with our wonder-full series?! This week, you can read chapters .002 and .003 in the black book and complete week two in the participant guide! Are you a fan of contemporary Christian music? Then check out this most awesome song, “Eye of the Storm”!
See you back here next week for an eye-opening look at the important of UNFORCED rest…it’s not as easy as you might think! 😉
Peace, love and JOY!