The Presence of God

sequoiaAs I was praying this morning, I got that feeling I sometimes get when I’m really into a prayer. The feeling of Jesus wrapping His arms around me, comforting me and letting me know that He hears me. As I was reflecting on that feeling throughout the day, I remembered something I said a couple of weeks ago. I was teaching on grace in discipleship training and made the comment about how when we are worshipping as we should sometimes you can feel Jesus standing behind you with His hand on your shoulder and it was interesting looking out and seeing some people nodding their heads knowingly and others that didn’t quite understand what I meant by that. I had a teacher while encouraging us to use expository preaching say that we should not go back to our study trying to figure out what to preach on next Sunday while waiting for something “spooky” to happen. I mentioned that to a friend and he said “spooky, like the Holy Spirit?”

I said that’s what I thought. So why do we find it so hard to believe that Jesus is still alive and there next to us giving us His word and presence.

I got to wondering why is it that sometimes it feels as if Jesus is right there in the middle of worship and sometimes he isn’t. As I thought about it the story of the two men on the road to Emmaus came to mind. (Luke 24:13-33) Here are two disciples, men who know Jesus, walking along discussing Jesus and all of a sudden Jesus shows up to discuss Himself with them. And they did not recognize Him! The very object of their discussion and they did not know He was there talking to them. Vs. 16 says there eyes were kept from recognizing Him. He even hints to them He is there in vs. 25 “You foolish people – how slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken!

These men did not realize their guest was Jesus until He prayed and then they thought to themselves how stupid can we be did not our hearts burn within us as we discussed (worshipped) with Him vs.32 . Even Mary Magdalene in John 20:14-16 did not realize that it was Jesus she spoke to. So why did Mary and these two men not realize that Jesus was present with them.

Because they did not expect Him to be! “You foolish people – how slow of heart to believe…” When we worship or pray do we truly expect Jesus to make Himself known to us. Most of the time we don’t, so when He does it surprises us. But it shouldn’t. We should always expect Jesus to make Himself known. After all that is what we are worshipping for. So why would He not be there. It’s funny to hear a pastor talking and they want to say they heard the voice of God, but they are scared that everyone will think they are crazy.

We tell people to pray and ask God to answer them, but if they tell us God spoke to them and answered. We ask “are you sure you heard God?” We don’t believe that God truly answered them. Let’s not be like the men walking with Jesus to Emmaus and missing out on the presence of God because they doubted. Let us go forward knowing that we will feel the presence of God.
MSW<

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