God's comfort and presence
We usually hear this verse at Christmas time, a prophecy of Isaiah made some 700 years before Jesus’ birth, but I think many of us need to be reminded of it just now:
"The virgin shall be with child and shall bear a son,
And they shall call his name Immanuel, which translated means,
God with us.
Hmm, Immanuel, God with us . . . what does that mean?
Throughout Scripture, the people of God were assured that God was with them. Joshua was told by God, "for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go."2 David wrote of God's presence throughout the psalms, and we are comforted by the same assurance he was, that "though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; for You are with me."3
Just before Jesus ascended into Heaven, he comforted his disciples with these words, "lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age."4 Cognitively, we can believe that God is with us, but how can we FEEL his presence? A few of my thoughts on our part in feeling God's presence~
♦be desirous of God's presence ~ Consider Brother Lawrence,5 who said, "Oh my God, since you are with me, and I must now, in obedience to your commands, apply my mind to these outward things, I ask you to grant me the grace to continue in your presence. To this end make me prosper through your assistance. Receive all my works, and possess all my affections." He was a dishwasher.
♦Look for God - be aware of where he might be working around you.
For instance, if you are praying about something specifically, and there is movement in that area, don't you think it is at least possible, if not probable, that God had something to do with it?! Look for God at work around you.
♦Ask God to reveal himself to you - Psalm 19 talks about the heavens declaring the glory of God all around us. Look up, look around and listen for him around you.
♦Make room for God with a little silence, so that you can hear him.
"God is the friend of silence . . .
See how nature, the trees, the flowers, the grass
grow in deep silence.
See how the stars, the moon and the sun
move in silence.
The more we receive in our silent prayer,
The more we can give in our active life." Mother Teresa
"Be still and know that I am God." Psalm 46.10
"Be silent in the presence of the Lord God" Zephaniah 1.7
take note: those are commands of God: Be still, Be silent...
I hope you will give God some quiet to speak into,
I hope you will look for him at work near you, in and around you~
I hope you will listen, and let God speak to you, comfort you and assure you of his presence. He is there, I promise; reach out for him.
1 Isaiah 7.14
2 Joshua 1.9
3 Psalm 23.4
4 Matthew 28.20
5 Practicing the Presence of God, Brother Lawrence