Archive for March 8th, 2018

How God Visits Us

March 8th, 2018

My tears have been my food day and night, while they say to me all the day long, “Where is your God?” (Psalm 42:3)

The omnipresent God is with us all the time – theology and philosophy alone confirm this truth – or God would not be God. But yet we often do not feel His presence.

Though we are called to walk by faith, and not by sight, we still need reminders that He is with us – some evidences that say to us, “Here is God!”

The Evidence of Tangible Help: Perhaps the evidence that God is with us that we most often long for is simply the witness of His presence with us in physical and in tangible ways. Thank God He does often show up in such ways that we can see His hand in our circumstances. More than once in our ministry, as my wife and I have served the Lord, we have been in situations – personal and ministry related – where we needed to see the hand of God in a tangible way.

It was not so long ago that I prayed for a personal financial need, earnestly calling on the Lord and feeling that it was not right to mention this need to a soul. I trusted that the Lord had endless resources and that He alone could answer this need. A friend and supporter sent funds to me that very week, saying that the Lord just put us on her heart. And I have seen the Lord do this often in churches and in other lives – showing His presence not just with financial gifts, but with opportunities, new people for ministry positions, timing of events, etc.

God knows that we are weak and the finest among us, the most believing and faithful, still need to see His hand at work in their lives in tangible ways. The psalmist wrote: “By this I know that you delight in me: my enemy will not shout in triumph over me” (Psalm 41:11). Thank God for the tangible displays of His love and presence.

The Evidence of Emotional Support: But we also have needs of the soul and not just of the body. God sometimes sends the voice of a friend that supports our soul. Paul wrote often of how the visits of Epaphroditus and Timothy encouraged him – not only through the gifts that they gave but by their very presence (Phil. 2:). We may also show people the love and care of God by visiting them, as James said that this was pure religion and undefiled before the Father, “To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction” (James 1:27).

The Witness of Memory: The psalmist on the heels of his lament regarding God’s seeming absence in his life said, “These things I remember as I pour out my soul … My soul is downcast within me; therefore I will remember you” (Psalm 42:4-6). God reminds us of what He has done for us. He often leads us into places where He spoke to us clearly in the past and the very memory and familiarity of the place is a precious witness of God’s past faithfulness. We ought to always be writing new songs and building new buildings for God, but let us not be so insensitive that we discard too quickly the old familiarities of things past used of God in our lives. A visit to an old church building, the memory of an old song of faith, the conjuring up in our minds of what has transpired in our lives by the hand of God – these are more than just nostalgia. They are also ways that God shows His presence in our lives today.

The Witness of His Word: We should never discount this. It is, in fact, the most powerful way that God displays His presence with us. Ezekiel 3:3 speaks of the prophet eating the scroll of God’s Word and it being sweet to his stomach. The psalmist wrote: “May your unfailing love be my comfort, according to your promise to your servant” (Psalm 119:76).

(Matthew 25:25-26). When the nations asked Him when had they done that for Him, He replied, “Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me” (Matt. 25:40).

Those who serve God the most seem to feel His presence the most, and I believe this is as God intended it to be. The needs of people around us should call to our minds the mark of God’s nature on the human soul, and even if it is marred from sin and poverty and sickness or cruelty, it still is a witness of God’s presence. The witness in that case may not be God’s face before us or His hands around us, it may be instead His voice behind us urging us to help. We become His hands and His voice and His feet, but that also becomes a witness of His presence to us.

The Witness of His Spirit: Along with the Word of God God also witnesses to us with His Spirit’s presence. Sometimes this is the voice of conviction, other times He is the voice of affirmation and encouragement. But even if God comes to convict us, like fire in our bones (Jer. 20:9), it is evidence it our souls of His presence. The psalmist prayed:

Where shall I go from your Spirit?
Or where shall I flee from your presence?
If I ascend to heaven, you are there!
If I make my bed in Sheol, you are there!
If I take the wings of the morning
and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea,
even there your hand shall lead me,
and your right hand shall hold me.
If I say, “Surely the darkness shall cover me,
and the light about me be night,”
even the darkness is not dark to you;
the night is bright as the day,
for darkness is as light with you. (Psalm 139:7-12)

God’s witness to His presence and help in our lives is all around us all the time. We have not mentioned the witness of nature, the beauty of the heavens, for they also witness (Psalm 19:1). The beauty and relative innocence of children was a reminder to Christ of God (Mark 10:14). There is also the seemingly coincidental events in life that also He has orchestrated and used for His purposes (Rom. 8:28-29). God can use and will use numerous things in our lives if we will open our eyes and hearts to how He gives a witness of His presence, of His help, and of His love.

Daily Devotions