Most religions proclaim that God is everywhere. Christianity proclaims that God is standing beside you.
A few verses from Psalm 139:1-6 (OGV) describes God’s presence with us …
God, you know and understand me.
You notice when I sit down and rise up;
All that I do and everyplace that I go — You know this!
You pay attention to my direction in life and are with me in rest.
You know everything about me — my thoughts, motives, and desires.
Even before I speak, You already know what I will say.
As I walk you are before me and behind me.
Your hand is on my shoulder.
It is difficult for me to understand this.
I’m amazed and humbled by your love for me.
I sat in stunned silence this morning when I read, “You walk before and behind me, Your hand is on me.” I caught myself looking at my shoulder to see His hand.
I will focus my interruptions this week on the presence of God. For many years I have experienced His presence that ‘elevates/comforts/or pushes me’.
Elevates: A few decades ago, I was so discouraged that I wanted to quit the ministry. This wasn’t normal frustration but a dark and dense depression. While jogging that morning, I asked God, “How many people should come to Fellowship?” I know that ‘dark and dense’ seems to juxtapose irrationally from ‘how many people.’ People had stopped coming to the ministry and I was wondering how small the number should become before I left the ministry. After this question, and while jogging through a field with no other footprints, I came across a clearing with the number “3,000” stamped into the snow. There were no footprints walking to this number or away from it. I still don’t understand ‘3,000’ as our church has never been this large.
On that day I felt God’s hand on my shoulder.
Comforts: I was in an apartment in New Jersey, hundreds of miles away from my hometown, when I received a phone call from my mother-in-law who said, “Grant, your mother has been killed in a car wreck.” At that instant — in the middle of my pain– I sensed a presence sitting next to me. It was Jesus giving me the peace that surpasses understanding (Philippians 4:7).
God was in front and in back of me.
Pushes: Several years ago, as another pastor was preaching at Fellowship, a man stood up in church and began yelling and screaming. He then began cursing God. While thinking to myself, “Hey someone can’t stand and curse God in this place,” God literally stood behind me and started pushing me. Filled with boldness I walked up to him and said, “Sir, you are causing a disturbance and you must leave.” He started yelling but as I took a step closer to him, he backed up and shouted, “Don’t come any closer.” I took a step again and he backed up again. I repeated this ‘Spirit dance’ until he was outside the building.
God was in front of me and in back of me and I believe His hand was pushing the man.
There is a lot to fear today. Confusion reigns. God isn’t finished with us. Churches have a call to take the gospel to the world. What we observe in media will bring God’s final conclusion.
God elevates, comforts, and pushes. He is doing that today in ways no one expected.
I know this because right now His hand is on my shoulder.