Every person has a need for God’s presence. I do too. Without God’s manifest presence I worry too much.
The Passion Translation reflects my thoughts about God’s presence:
My heart will not be afraid even if an army rises to attack. I know that you are there for me, so I will not be shaken. Here’s the one thing I crave from God, the one thing I seek above all else:
I want the privilege of living with him every moment in his house, finding the sweet loveliness of his face, filled with awe, delighting in his glory and grace. I want to live my life so close to him that he takes pleasure in my every prayer. In his shelter in the day of trouble, that’s where you’ll find me. – Psalm 27:3-5
I want to get home, to my house on Greystone Drive, in Springfield, Ohio.
I’ve just spent a day debating doctrine, counseling a grieving mother who has lost her son, taking some “well-deserved criticism to keep me humble” (how someone opened a conversation with me), worrying about low finances at the church, and sermon block, while thinking that I would be like Billy Graham next Sunday.
This happened in one day, and variations of the same theme occur on other days. As I drive home, I can’t wait to walk into my house and hear my wife say, “Hello!”.
Nothing more, I just want to hear her voice.
My wife has patience and seldom gets irritable. She faces trials with courage and always has an overcoming attitude. This week, while dealing with a painful episode of shingles, she has walked her 10,000 steps a day, engaged me in conversation, and is now on a retreat with me – without talking to others about her pain (not wanting to detract them from enjoying the retreat).
After a difficult day, I find it hard to carry the day’s ministerial “soul debris” any further than the doorstep of my house. She says, “Hello!” and it’s gone. I can’t stay self-absorbed and sad in the living presence of my wife.
Back to Psalm 27. David writes that his discouragement vanishes in the presence of God. He had enemies. I have people seeking to keep me humble. David had King Saul trying to kill him. I worry about success in ministry; King David spent a few years hiding in caves. I have an air-conditioned house, and I have visited the deserts where David went to hide from Saul. Hot, dusty, hot, dusty, with little food and no water! Hot and dusty.
David sang in Psalm 27, “Lord, I’m home. Yes, enemies, yes, a desert, and yes, discouragement. But to be in your presence, to hear a word from you, and it is all gone.” (OGV)
Loving presence destroys worry. I’m doubly blessed. I live with a great wife, and I enter into the presence of a great God every day.
Again, on another day, one person confessed to me his defeat and panic. Another follower of Jesus told me that the Bible was written too long ago and with irrelevance to modern times.
I became sad from the soul-sorrow in one and mind-doubt in another. Then I drove home, and my wife said “Hello!”. Later that evening, before I went to bed, I sat on my back porch and God said “Hell0!”.
I will get up tomorrow and love my wife and serve my Lord. I get strength from their presence. Let me encourage you – your worries are not bigger than the presence of God or the patience of my wife!