DAY 11 - GIVING THANKS FOR HIS PRESENCED
“You don’t have to pray out loud; He’s nearer than you can imagine… Is there any reason not to begin? He may be waiting for us to take the first step.” These words of Brother Lawrence, a 17th century follower of Jesus, capture an aspect of the goodness and presence of God that is wrapped up in His name Immanuel, which means “God with us.”
Immanuel is a name of our Lord which memorializes both His humility, and His great love for His people. Not only has He humbled Himself to be connected to and identified with us, He actually wants to an intimate relationship with us (John 17:24)! In 2020, in a pandemic, and yes, in the middle of any and every situation, “God with us” is relentlessly present and has made Himself heartily available to us.
But our awareness of His presence is not automatic. Experiencing our glorious God in daily life is optional and not forced upon His beloved. God is with us, and He now invites us to turn and to be with Him. Our God who is face-like-flint present with us is inviting you and I to be present in His presence.
Brother Lawrence spent his life in pursuit of God’s presence, answering this call by seeking to practice His presence every waking moment. His descriptions of his experience during this divine experiment glimpse our God who is better than we know:
“This King, who is full of goodness and mercy, doesn’t punish me. Rather, He embraces me lovingly and invites me to eat at His table. He serves me Himself and gives me the keys to His treasury, treating me as His favorite. He converses with me without mentioning either my sins or His forgiveness. My former habits are seemingly forgotten. Although I beg Him to do whatever He wishes with me, He does nothing but caress me. This is what being in His holy presence is like.”
God is with us, even at this very moment. And now the question comes to us, in the midst of everything happening around us, will we turn and be present with Him? Or as Brother Lawrence’s words echo to our ears today:
“Is there any reason not to begin? He may be waiting for us to take the first step.”
(Quotes are from The Practice of the Presence of God by Brother Lawrence, 1982, Whitaker House)
- Mitch Luse