How Do YOU Experience God's Presence?
“I come to the garden alone while the dew is still on the roses. And the voice I hear falling on my ear, the Son of God, discloses, and he walks with me, and he talks with me, and he tells me I am his own. And the joy we share as we tarry there, none other has ever known. He speaks and the sound of his voice is so sweet the birds hush their singing, and the melody that he gave to me, within my heart is ringing.” (From “In the Garden” written by C. Austin Miles, March 1912.)
Take a moment to think about the words of “In the Garden” and try to mentally put yourself there. It is early morning; the dewy air bears traces of your garden’s fragrances. All is quiet except for a few birds singing in the trees. You hear a dear, familiar voice softly speak your name, and pure adoration is evident in his tone. Jesus! He smiles, tucks your hand into the crook of his arm, and strolls with you through that beautiful place. The pleasure of seeing you is written all over his face, and as you walk and talk together, he calls you cherished and treasured. His love enfolds you and fills you with peace, comfort and the joy of just being with him, the one who loves you deeply and knows you more intimately than anyone else. There is no greater delight than this time together and your heart begins to sing.
If you have ever wondered how other people experience God, or what walking day-by-day with Jesus is like, one of the best sources of knowledge is in the old hymns. Through listening and really paying attention to the lyrics of those songs, I have come to appreciate their beautiful words and to acknowledge the depths of the writers’ experiences from which they came. Many of them are basically love letters written to, or about Jesus. “In the Garden” reads almost like an early morning tryst between sweethearts. But then, I have come to know him personally as my dearest and best friend, so those words ring true for me. The very best part of my day is that early morning quiet time: some music to help me wake up and focus on him, my daily scripture, and sitting with Him in prayer.
Oswald Chambers said, “Before God can use a man greatly he must wound him deeply.” While I am not so sure it is God who wounds us deeply, I do know that he will use every hurt, however we sustain it, as a learning experience for our edification and spiritual growth. Some of His most profound truths have come to me through times of my deepest pain. Of course, it is at those times that he has my fullest attention. The joy of his presence faithfully comforts, heals, and fills me with his peace, hope and love so I can start my day with a smile in my heart.
“Oh what peace we often forfeit. Oh what needless pain we bear, all because we do not carry everything to God in prayer.” (From “What a Friend We Have in Jesus” written by Joseph M. Scriven, 1855.)
Prayer: Dearest Lord Jesus, open our hearts and minds to know you more deeply and to experience you more fully. As we come into your presence, fill us with an awareness of you beyond our natural understanding, and overwhelm us with your love. Holy Spirit, shine your light into our hearts and minds so we can know you even as we are fully known. Thank you so much for all you have done for us. We love you, praise you, worship and adore you, in Jesus’ name, amen.
“This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.”
~ 1 John 4:9-12
“Then Jesus told him, “Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.” ~ John 20:29
“I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one— I in them and you in me—so that they may be brought to complete unity. Then the world will know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me. Father, I want those you have given me to be with me where I am, and to see my glory, the glory you have given me because you loved me before the creation of the world.” ~ John 17:22-24
“For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known. And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.”
~ 1 Corinthians 13:12-13