- Part One – God’s presence is often termed “God’s face”, He tells us to seek His face, it is a vital need for us, and He will help us.
- Part Two – Basic truth’s about God’s presence. He promises His presence if we love and obey Him.
- Part Three – Some of the many ways we can love God.
- Part Four – We sometimes see God’s face and sometimes not because God is sovereign. He initiates our awareness of His presence, He responds to our reaching out, and He withdraws temporarily. There are also hindrances to His presence over which we have some control.
- Part Five: Hindrances to God’s presence include disobedience, lack of love, our physical condition, and our soul’s condition, our spiritual condition, lack of experience or knowledge, hidden sin, and lies from the enemy.
- Part Six: The enemy attacks our minds with vicious lies, trying to keep us from being aware of God’s presence
PART SEVEN: IF YOU DO NOT FEEL HIS PRESENCE NOW OR NEVER HAVE
God is with you, whether or not you feel His presence. When I searched the web for free pictures of “someone behind you” I chose this picture. Why? It is cute and light-hearted and I know God wants us to have a joy-filled relationship with Him. To everything there is indeed a season (Ecclesiastes 3:1) and that includes times for joy and, yes, silliness. I wanted to remind you, and me, that although we are exploring a serious subject, it is also a most happy one.
I urge you, if you have lost the feeling of being connected to God, or if you never have been consciously aware of Him, to persevere in seeking Him. I especially want to remind you that God is always with you, no matter if you are aware of Him or not. I also especially want to encourage you that in seeking His face, you are doing a wonderful thing! Resist any self-critical thoughts that might try to take root in your mind about this matter of seeking God’s face. God is not mad at you in bringing this to your attention. He is longing to bless you even more than He has already! His intentions toward us are always, always, always loving and kind. And He is not only watching over us, like that cute kitten, He lives in us if we love and obey His commands (John 14:15-21).
Remind yourself that God never fails and God never fails YOU. In Hebrews 13:5, God reassures us that He will never fail us. After telling us not to crave earthly possessions but to be satisfied with what we have we hear:
“He [God] Himself has said, ‘I will not in any way fail you nor give you up nor leave you without support. [I will] not, [I will] not, [I will] not in any degree leave you helpless nor forsake nor let [you] down (relax my hold on you) [Assuredly not!] (AMPC)
Notice that this promise covers every situation and circumstance. Notice the superlative language: in any way, in any degree. Notice that God repeats three times “I will not, I will not, I will not . . . “ Then He adds even more emphasis with “Assuredly not!” Friend, He will surely help us in this matter of seeking His face!
Remind yourself that He promises we can find Him. God is not playing hide and seek with us. In Deuteronomy 4, God reassures His people and tells them that even after they have been worshipping idols and have been taken captive that “if from there you seek the LORD your God, you will find Him if you look for him with all your heart and all your soul.” (Deuteronomy 4:29, NIV). This comforting promise tells me that even if I have put something before God, which is idolatry, if I seek Him with all my heart and all my soul, I will find Him.
Ask and be persistent. When Jesus taught His disciples about prayer He said:
- Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened. (Luke 11:9-10, NIV)
Do not be afraid of spiritual things and of going deeper with God. Unfortunately, Satan uses fear to keep some of us from pursuing a closer closeness with God. Spiritual things can indeed seem frightening. We cannot see God and we cannot see Satan, and Satan has saturated our culture with lies about the unseen world and terrifying visual images of what might be around us but invisible to us. He also leads some people who claim to be influenced by God to behave in weird and eerie ways. Is it any wonder some of us are afraid to just sit alone with God and talk with Him? Is it any wonder some of us are afraid that doing so might open a door to something evil?
God knows our hearts. He understands our fear and does not condemn us for it. And He knows that truth sets us free and removes fear. So He reassures us that if we seek Him, we will find Him, not something bad. After Jesus instructs us to ask, seek, and knock because we will receive, we will find, and the door will be opened to us (Luke 11:9-10), He says:
11 “Which of you fathers, if your son asks for[a] a fish, will give him a snake instead? 12 Or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion? 13 If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!” (NIV)
Ask Holy Spirit to search your heart and show you if you have sinned in some way or if there is something He has told you to do that you have not done. It might seem a “little sin” or some little thing to do or stop doing, but if God told you, it is important. Recently, God showed me I needed to be more systematic in the Bible passages I meditate on each day. I could not feel His presence until I began doing that.
Remember that sin causes God to turn His face way from us (Isaiah 59:2). One of the many things Holy Spirit does is to convict us (John 16:8) but He does so without condemnation (Romans 8:1). The enemy criticizes, belittles, and ridicules. God is gentle with us. Notice how He pleads with us in Isaiah 1:18
“Come now. Let us reason together’, says the Lord. ‘Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow. Though they are red like crimson, they shall be as wool”.
That is a gentle, loving offer! God wants us to talk together with Him, and He promises to do for us what we cannot do for ourselves, of course – to rid us of sin, of the places in our lives where we miss the mark. God is pleased when we try to draw closer to Him, and He helps us do that. Holy Spirit teaches us (John 14:26), and He gives us wisdom. “For the LORD gives wisdom; from His mouth come knowledge and understanding.” (Proverbs 2:6, NIV).
God speaks to each of us in different ways so do not expect your experience to be identical to that of anyone else. If you have been blessed to observe and interact with children, you know some are loud and rowdy, always seeking attention whereas others prefer more peaceful activities, out of the spotlight. God understands absolutely each detail about everyone of His many, many children. (Do we need to remind ourselves again that He knows how many hairs are on our head?)
God will communicate with you in the way He knows is best for you. You may hear Him speak through a song when you start up your car. You may feel His love in the smile of a grocery store checker. He may blanket you in peace as you gaze at a sunset, a flower, a caterpillar, or your grandchild’s face.
God says, “Before I formed you in the womb, I knew you, before you were born, I set you apart.” (Jeremiah 1:5a, NIV) He tells you “even the very hairs of your head are numbered.” (Matthew 10:30, NIV). One reason He included Psalm 139 in the Bible, I believe, is to reassure our frail human hearts how intimately He knows us. Take time to read Psalm 139 now. Selah! Pause and calmly think about it!
I also urge you to make three things your daily habit: Thank Him, talk with Him as often as you can remember, and meditate on the Word. These three habits are powerful helps to find God’s presence. For more details, read the blog post entitled “My Spiritual Emergency Kit.” These three habits greatly increase awareness of God’s presence in my daily life.
In Part Eight, the last part of this series, we will look at some Biblical reasons why we should never give up in pursuing God. The most reassuring reason for me is this:
“For the eyes of the LORD range throughout the earth to strengthen the hearts of those whose hearts are fully committed to Him.” (2 Chronicles 16:9, NIV)