Friday, March 15, 2013

The Assurance of God’s Presence

And Jacob awaked out of his sleep, and he said, Surely the Lord is in this place; and I knew it not. 17 And he was afraid, and said, How dreadful is this place! this is none other but the house of God, and this is the gate of heaven.  –Genesis 28:16, 17 (KJV)

Jacob of the Old Testament experienced a startling vision.  While he was on the run from his vengeful brother, Esau, Jacob lay down and as he slept he saw a vision of a ladder reaching into heaven with angels descending and ascending upon it.  He then heard the voice of the Lord God promising to guide, help, and bring him back to his home.  When Jacob awoke, he realized he had been in the presence of the Lord.  He then expressed a wondrous awe over what God had done in his life. 

As I consider this I think of the times I have been praying or meditating on the Scripture, and I felt a powerful, yet peaceful presence of the Lord.  God has a way of coming to us in the midst of our struggles and gently reminding us of His presence.  However, I also realize not everyone feels the presence of God in this way.  Consequently, they question whether the Lord is with them, and they might even question the very existence of God.  This is where we are compelled to take a vital faith step of trusting and believing God even when we may not feel His presence as powerfully as we would like.  Remember that even a few saints of the Bible had moments when they too wondered if the Lord was with them.

David prayed in Psalm 22:1, 2, “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?...O my God, I cry in the day time, but thou hearest not.”  Gideon said in Judges 6:13, “But now the Lord hath forsaken us.”  Throughout the book of Job we find Job wondering why God had allowed such calamity to come upon him and if the Lord still cared for him at all.  Perhaps you also have gone through similar difficulties in seeking God.  There may have been a time when you cried out in anguish like David wondering if God was still there.  Take heart, for in each case, the prophets found the blessed presence of God in a crucial faith step which declares belief no matter what.  The same can happen for us.

This is where our faith meets the harsh realities of life.  Faith says I will believe no matter what and regardless of the circumstances.  In my darkest hour, the light of God’s presence will break through and shine into my heart.  Someone has said that faith is knowing there is an ocean because I have seen a river.  Our faith in God functions in like manner.  The evidence of the Lord is near.  We see Him in creation, a sunny day, the gentle wind, a beautiful sunrise, the beating of our hearts, and the air we breathe. 

God may not shake the ground beneath your feet, yet through faith He will speak in a gentle whisper or a still small voice assuring that He is with us.  Believe and do not doubt.  We will then be like Jacob who said, “Surely the Lord is in this place.” 

God bless you today as you walk forward in calm and certain faith.