Is it important to feel God’s presence?

I believe God is always present in my life.  Jesus said as much in Matthew 28: 20: “Surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”

If that is the case, does it really matter whether I am aware of his presence or not? 

My answer is: “Yes and no.”

I say “No” because my faith does not depend on feeling that God is present.  By faith, I know he is present.

I say “Yes” because feelings enhance a relationship as my son suggested in a note yesterday.  As he said: “They are what make it real.”

Indeed, it is clear that Jesus is looking for more than an intellectual knowledge of God.  He says we are to love God with all our heart, mind, soul and strength.  Love is a strong word – it does involve feelings.

And the disciples felt the presence of the Holy Spirit very powerfully at Pentecost.  That experience led to an outpouring of love that drew thousands to Jesus Christ.

My wife and I were having breakfast last weekend with some good friends, and I asked them my granddaughter’s question: “Have you ever felt the presence of God?”

They said “Yes” and told us about experiencing God’s presence on various occasions, including a time when their daughter was seriously ill and her life seemed threatened.

How did they feel God’s presence?  It seemed to depend on  circumstances.  In a time of trial, they felt God’s peace.  On another occasion, after a prayer time, the husband said he felt joy – euphoria.  His wife remembers feeling God’s presence deeply in a prayer group we both belonged to. 

She made an interesting point – she has felt the presence of God in different church – and non-church – settings.  No denomination has a stranglehold on God’s presence.

There are occasions when God appears in a person’s life in an overwhelming way, just as the Holy Spirit transformed the lives of the disciples at Pentecost. 

That happens today just as much as it did in the days of the disciples.

In my next post, I’d like to look at why God makes himself known in a powerful way at certain times in our lives and not in others.  I don’t know the answer, but I do have some thoughts.

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