Sensing God's Presence
O LORD, you have searched me and known me! You know when I sit down and when I rise up; you discern my thoughts from afar. You search out my path and my lying down and are acquainted with all my ways. Even before a word is on my tongue, behold, O LORD, you know it altogether..Where shall I go from your Spirit? Or where shall I flee from your presence? If I ascend to heaven, you are there! If I make my bed in Sheol, you are there! If I take the wings of the morning and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea, even there your hand shall lead me and your right hand shall hold me. If I say, “Surely the darkness shall cover me, and the light about me be night,” even the darkness is not dark to you; the night is bright as the day, for darkness is as light with you. (Psalm 139: 1-12)
Have you every entered a room or a church and sensed the presence of God? Have you ever entered a room and felt that God was not there? How many times do we hear someway say, “I really felt God’s presence today in this service (or in this place or that place)?” I remember hearing a pastor (on television) once say, “I’m about to call down the Holy Spirit on this place!” Have you every considered the implications of such statements?
As Christians we can get a little sloppy with our terminology. Sloppy terminology often leads to sloppy thinking. What do we mean by this? Let’s use a little common sense and logic. We know that God is everywhere present, as we read above. Bible scholars and other theologians call this omnipresence.
We are creatures with feelings. Our feelings don’t always square with the facts. You may enter a room and ‘feel like God is not there.’ Or… you may sense God’s presence. But the fact is your feelings don’t necessarily square with reality. God is always there. There is no place on this earth—-in this universe—-where God is not present.
God is with you when you feel all alone. He is with you when you are having a mountain top spiritual experience. He is there in the hard times too, even in the deep dark valleys (Psalm 23:4).God is always there… always present. He never leaves us nor forsakes us. He never abandons us (Deuteronomy 31:6; Joshua 1:9; Hebrews 13:5-6; Matthew 28:20). God’s presence is everywhere. He is everywhere present.
This means neither you or I, or the pastor on TV, can “call down the Holy Spirit.” You can’t call Him down on a room, or into a situation. He is already there. Says who? Says the Psalmist (above) and says Jesus (below):
And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, to be with you forever, even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, for he dwells with you and will be in you. (John 14:16-17)
God is everywhere… everywhere present—-whether you sense Him or not. No need to call Him down—-He’s already here. He is with you now. And that is very good news indeed. Be encouraged! Take heart! Cling to what is true!
So what do you do with this information? Pass it on. Speak with clarity for the sake of others, particularly new believers. And rest well—-knowing you are never alone, never on your own, and never without resources!