God, we need to sit a little while, in your presence, to be reminded that You are real…
that you are sovereign.
that you see.
that you know.
Certainly, there is the very real sense that you are omnipresent, and so we are always in your presence. Or, put much more selfishly, you are always in our world. You are, after all….
We are not alone, even in our most loneliness-ness, because you will never forsake us.
You will not abandon. You will not throw us away.
But, sometimes God, it is us who abandon you.
It doesn’t even have to be some huge, grand decision to leave our belief in you and our beliefs (the correct ones) about you in the dust.
No, sometimes it comes upon us with much more stealth…
we get busy.
we become anxious.
we become bitingly cynical.
we become tired.
we even become happy, sometimes, with our “success” and the smorgasbord the word presents us.
And, we forget you are there. We forget that what John Greenleaf Whittier said, is truth:
Before us, even as behind, God is…..
And so, God, tonight, we need to sit with you awhile. In your presence. No huge study, no commentaries, no apologetics, no huge revelations, no answers.
Just your presence.
To sit in your presence is to acknowledge that the words found in Psalm 73:23-28 are truth:
Nevertheless, I am continually with you;
you hold my right hand.
24 You guide me with your counsel,
and afterward you will receive me to glory.
25 Whom have I in heaven but you?
And there is nothing on earth that I desire besides you.
26 My flesh and my heart may fail,
but God is the strength[b] of my heart and my portion forever.
27 For behold, those who are far from you shall perish;
you put an end to everyone who is unfaithful to you.
28 But for me it is good to be near God;
I have made the Lord God my refuge,
that I may tell of all your works.
It’s knowing that, even when I foolishly choose to not sit in your presence, you are still continually with me. It’s knowing that you guide me with your counsel–your all-wisdom counsel.
It’s knowing that, there will be a day. A home-going day.
It’s knowing that John 6:68 and Psalm 73:25 confirm each other. Interpret each other. Peter’s words of, essentially, “What other choice is there? You have the words of eternal life…” resonate with the words here in Psalm 73:25—Who else do I have, God? No one. Only You. You will not abandon. You will not forsake.
It’s knowing that even on nights when the weariness is bone-deep from the responsibilities of parenting and work and to-do-lists and caring for others, you are my strength to get up and do it all again tomorrow.
It’s knowing that when the weariness is soul-deep from so-much, you are also the strength of my heart.
It’s also recognizing the rightful place of fear in verse 27–those far from you, shall perish. God, help me to know your salvation.
So, grant me the grace to sit here, for a few moments, in your presence. To settle. Because it is grace. To know, at the core of both mind and soul….
that you are real
that you are here.
that you are near.
I think this rendering of the thoughts in verse 28, sum it up best:
But as for me, the nearness of God is my good…
Your nearness–your presence, is my good.
Whom have I in heaven but you?
God, to whom shall we go?
You have the words of eternal life.