WHEN GOD’S PRESENCE IS ENOUGH

Some of my most treasured moments with God have been in the simplicity of peaceful silence with him. There’s something uniquely special about the fact that he loves us so much he gives us the freedom to rest in him without working for something in that moment. Sitting outside breathing in the air, in complete awe of his presence. Nothing more, nothing less.

Although when I first found myself enjoying the presence of God above anything else in such an organic way, a confusing thought would creep in.

I wondered if by “doing nothing” I wasn’t being as spiritually “productive” as I should be. I wondered if by embracing this priceless moment of allowing him to just love on me, and me love him back, I was somehow wasting time that was supposed to be spent on “greater things”.

I felt selfish because I thought that maybe by just sitting there, I was missing out on opportunities to produce fruit for God’s kingdom…. Aren’t there people out there who are dying, countries that are in serious threat, and hearts that are breaking? What am I doing enjoying this as much as I am, while others are suffering and I could be interceding for them?!

Through these questions, I realized something I don’t think I ever truly understood until recently: He first desires that we fall deeply in love with his companionship. This comes before what we need to accomplish. More than anything, he wants our heart. 

He desires that, in both the high and low seasons, we discover what is feels like when HIS PRESENCE IS ENOUGH.

He wants us to experience the healing that emerges in his presence. This intimacy is the very substance that fills us and equips us to accomplish what he’s called us to do. He wants us to hear his voice louder and know that we too are enough.  

Have you ever felt like all you really wanted was recognition from someone that meant a lot to you?

How different would it be if we all learned to find complete joy and satisfaction in the time we spend with our Father…If we knew the value of our relationship with him FIRST. How different would it be if we really understood what we mean to him before running to other lovers to complete us.

You see, God’s perfect presence knows exactly how to fill the empty places within us in ways that we aren’t designed to do on our own.

While this doesn’t excuse us to neglect the need and desire for daily devotion, it is so important that we accept the reality that sometimes our Father just wants us to be with him. We may not fully understand it, but the power of God’s presence transcends beyond anything we could ever accomplish on our own time or with our human hands. The reward we receive for this time with him is a stronger relationship with his precious Spirit. As his spirit consumes more of our being, we create a FAR GREATER impact in his kingdom.

Embrace your time with him and allow it to be spent the way the Spirit leads you. Relax and find peace in his presence. Let him first equip you for what is to come by establishing your identity in him.

Be still and know that I am God – Psalm 46:10

REJOICE ALWAYS DOES NOT MEAN BE HAPPY ALWAYS

One of my very favorite verses in the Bible is 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18, “Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus”. It’s a beautiful verse, yet I think we sometimes read verses like these and don’t look deeply enough into what it’s truly saying. We equate the idea of rejoicing always with “never being sad.”

As a result, we create an expectation in the body of Christ that you’re not allowed to feel pain, that “rejoice” cancels out sadness. A completely unreasonable expectation.

This verse is reminding us to rejoice IN our suffering. To keep praising and being thankful in everything, including our sadness. We are called to keep rejoicing in the good moments and the bad ones because God is still good in all of them.

Rejoicing is extremely important- it helps bring healing and preserves a posture of gratitude. The more you rejoice, the more light shines in your dark situation. This glorifies God in everything and therefore brings life to every circumstance.

But it doesn’t demand that you not be human. It doesn’t mean your pain isn’t acceptable. One feeling isn’t supposed to entirely cancel out the other. Especially if you find yourself in the process of healing from a situation that has brought you pain.

In the beginning, God didn’t create two robots in the garden. God created man and woman- in his own image. He created us. He created feelings. If we are made in his own image, doesn’t God have an abundance of feelings? The Old testament is filled with story after story illustrating God’s emotions towards his people. In fact, even in the midst of his passionate love for us, we see Him expressing sadness time and time again as his children overlooked his love.

Romans 12:12 tells us to be, “joyful in hope, patient in affliction.” It doesn’t say “ignore the affliction”, or “be hard on yourself in the affliction”. Paul understood that healing from affliction is a process that requires patience and dependence on the greatest Healer. He understood that affliction is inevitable. He understood the beautiful truth that only with Christ is it possible for sadness and rejoicing to coexist and intentionally work together.

Romans 5:3 tells us to rejoice in our sufferings, and the rest of the verse explains why: “knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.”

You’re not letting God down when you find yourself experiencing sadness. That moment when you acknowledge your feelings and surrender your heart to the comfort of the Father may be the first time you’ve given him the opportunity to fully embrace your heart and pour out a wave of healing on the pain you’ve been denying.

The more pain I’ve experienced in life, the more I’ve realized that each moment I shut off the pain was a missed opportunities to see God’s goodness. His presence in the hurting, his quickness to send an outpouring of love from all directions, the beautifully creative ways he showed me his heart’s response to my pain, all were things that marked me forever. Without allowing him to step into the places I had no idea how to mend, I would have never known him the way I do today. And I must say, I am so thankful I don’t see him through the same lens I used to.

So if you’re hurt, then hurt. Yet also rejoice. Rejoice in the weakness that gives our Father a wide open space to be strong on our behalf.

Embedded within the pain, we can rejoice in knowing we don’t have to carry the weight alone.

We rejoice in our healing, knowing that the love of Jesus will shine the most brightly in the darkness.