The presence of God

Our nine-year-old granddaughter, E., asked me a profound question recently:

“Have you ever felt the presence of God?”

Her question came during a wonderful surprise birthday party for me, and the whole family – my wife, three children, their spouses, and eight grandchildren – were seated around a table at our son’s home.  He had asked the grandchildren if they had any questions for “Papa”.

I hemmed and hawed and finally mentioned two occasions when I felt the presence of God – the night I became a believer on February 29, 1960 and the day I went into surgery for prostate cancer in March 2001.  On both occasions, I had felt the peace of God in my heart and a certainty that I was in his caring hands.

But her question has been percolating in my mind ever since.  It has provoked other questions such as:

  • Do some people feel God’s presence more than others?
  • Is it important to “feel” God’s presence?
  • Does God make his presence felt on occasions when we really need it – and not in the general course of life?
  • How does one feel God’s presence?

I am still trying to answer those questions to my own satisfaction.  I have some tentative ideas in mind and will try to think through these issues in future posts.

About 40 years ago, I read a smoke-tinged copy of a little book called The Practice of the Presence of God, by Brother Lawrence.  It had been in the library of my aunt and uncle.

That book has had a great influence on believers for well over 300 years since a friend of the French monk, Lawrence, wrote down conversations he had with him and added in some letters that Brother Lawrence wrote to friends.  It is a wonderful, simple, encouraging and hope-filled book.

What sticks with me from this book is Lawrence’s habit of simply talking with God in a conversational way all day long.  He assumed that God was there so he spoke with him and took time to listen – in his heart.

Brother Lawrence took Christ literally when he said he would always be with us.  And he acted on this truth by talking with him.

So, this tells me that even when you don’t “feel” God is present, he is there.  And perhaps you are more likely to “feel” his presence if you take the time to “practice the presence of God” as Brother Lawrence did.

However, this is just touching the surface of this question and I will be blogging about it again.


1 comment so far

  1. Andrew Douglas on

    Another great post. I love that Christians across the ages have struggled with the same issues we face and that God has proven faithful. He is good.

    Feelings are what makes it a relationship. They are what make it real.

    Keep writing.


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