The presence of the Lord is a Believer’s most valuable asset. Unfortunately, many of us go through life failing to engage in His presence. Some people don’t give His presence much thought at all during the course of their busy day. Yet the Lord has promised never to leave or forsake us. Therefore, we should acknowledge His presence in all we do (Matthew 1:23, Hebrews 13:5). He is waiting for us to become more aware of Him.
Encountering God’s presence is not simply emotionalism, nor is it experience for the sake of experience. Rather, God’s gentle but awesome touch will change your life. When we come to understand the sweetness of such encounters with the Lord is meant to lure us away from the false loves and lovers of the world with all the distractions and addictions that clamor for our attention. These hold no interest for us if we were to really taste the overpowering presence of Jesus.
God’s presence woos you away from earthly pleasures when you truly experience God’s touch such an encounter will capture your heart from carnal distractions. It will undoubtedly spoil you for any and all the world considers sweet and good. Do you ever find yourself saying to God let me experience such an incomparable and delightful sweetness, such holy knowledge, and such incomprehensible wonders that you will find little enjoyment in these earthly things, if you have not maybe you should.
We are very aware of the reality of His presence through His Word. “We are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praise of Him who called you out of darkness into His wonderful light” (1 Peter 2:9). Peter says that “we are chosen people……belonging to God.” We never lose the reality of God’s presence, no matter how badly we fail; if you truly belong to Him you will never sin so much as to lose your salvation; you never sink so far as to banish the Holy Spirit forever.
We can and will anger God because of our sin, but true believers never lose the presence of the Holy Spirit. While you will never lose the reality of God’s presence, you just might lose the ‘sense’ of His presence. This is why it is so important that you always remain fixed on Him as your Beloved whom you desire. For when you gaze continually on that which you desire it becomes ardently enkindled, so that your heart begins to beat slowly because of the sweet burden of love. Through perseverance in this life filled with contemplation, you are to be continually gazing on God, so to be drawn not only to Him, but that you rest within Him, and His Love will make you taste Him so sweetly that you forget everything on earth.
Genuine encounters with God’s presence set our hearts ablaze with love for the Lord and keep us from growing lukewarm. If you have ever been in love, you know that such intensity of emotion does not last forever. Feelings fade. Springtime mellows into the long days of summer. Dry times come all too soon. New love softens into the long haul of a committed friendship. So it is in our relationship with the Lord.
Can we experience the penetrating loving presence of God on a daily basis? I believe Scripture is clear that we can, a lack of intense feeling does not mean something is wrong or that God has gone from you. As we read the Psalms, we realize that dark and dry seasons are part of every relationship and will also be a part of your walk with God. Although we miss the sweetness, we need not panic. There comes a time in every relationship when the passionate feelings and intimate meetings dissipate, this happens also in our relationship with God. The emotions associated with falling in love do not last forever. While we are certain to enjoy emotional connection with the Lord when we experience it, we dare not cling to it.
Those who clutch to feelings and experiences are often led astray just as in our worldly relationships that too often seem to be filled with mere feelings of infatuation among other things. We soon find we were more interested in the “emotional or physical high” provided more than we were in really loving the other person. So goes it with God some of us are more interested in the good feelings of a “Spiritual High” than we are in really loving God.
Although it is hard to release those initial feelings of being in love, we must do so. The early stages of any relationship must evolve from puppy love to a mature full grown love, just as the early experiences of spiritual sweetness must give way to a more mature love that is forged in dry times. If God always pampers us, we will never grow up spiritually. Rather, he allows sweet feelings to fade so that we might develop a deeper relationship with him and a more complete understanding of who He is. We must learn to be content in every situation and all circumstances we may find ourselves in and grow in the understanding that we at time may be deprived of sweet repose for the sake of knowing this great totality of God! We will grow into a mature relationship with the Lord, and he will ultimately reward us in full!