Shelter-in-place, Stay-at-home, Community Quarantine, Enhanced Community Quarantine – whatever you call what we are in now feels like it’s been a year, or longer?
I find myself really living the life of an urban hermit. I used to describe myself that but lately, it’s been more true that ever.
How are you? I hope you can still say it is well with your soul. Or that, you are out of the anxiety phase and is learning to cope well with what everybody calls “the new normal.”
E in our PAUSE acronym stands for Experience God’s Presence and His Peace.
In these times where we are on a seemingly ‘house arrest’ why don’t we take this time to really experience God’s presence and His peace.
Some might consider the idea of experiencing God’s presence to be somewhat mystical. In part it is because the Christian faith is somewhat mystical. But for the most part, experiencing God’s presence is drawing closer to Him.
When you feel uncertain about the future due to this global pandemic, bring your feelings to Him in prayer. When you don’t know what to pray because the uncertainty is overwhelming, tell Him. “Lord, I don’t even know how to pray about this, but I am bringing this feeling to you. It’s yours to take care of. Please give me peace. In Jesus’ name. Amen.”
Do this with every feeling you may have. Invite Jesus in to your mundane. God is present in the most ordinary just as in the extraordinary. In fact, I find feel His presence even more in the mundane, daily activities than in the grandiose moments.
As I was writing this 15 April (and ante-dating this on the blog for 10th April), I prayed for rain in passing. And it rained. He answers prayers even prayed in passing. But what if He doesn’t. That, too is okay. He may have answered it a way that we don’t see, but we can trust Him to be Someone who is Sovereign and who knows exactly what He is doing, answered prayers or not.
Oswald Chambers in his book, ‘My Utmost for His Highest’ writes, “The true test of a person’s spiritual life and character is not what he does in the extraordinary moments of life, but what he does during the ordinary times when there is nothing tremendous or exciting happening. A person’s worth is revealed in his attitude toward the ordinary things of life when he is not under the spotlight.”
It may not look peaceful in the outside world, or maybe even in our inner world. But we’re not hanging on to our own peace. Truly, we don’t have it. Peace that surpasses understanding is really only found in God. Things can be very ordinary right now where you are, but God can surprise you in the way He shows up. Just draw close to Him, please. Will you?
It is God’s presence that can change our atmosphere and the way we look at things. Don’t give up because the pain is intense or the feelings are so overwhelming right now, keep at it. Keep rolling back the worries and the doubts to the Lord.
Before long, you’ll feel His presence and it may come in the smile of a child, the kindness of a neighbor, the goodness of a friend, the odd downpour in a sunny day, a short text of appreciation, the comfort of a bed, even in the lines of a book. Got none of this? What about the air in your lungs, the sight and the internet you have to read this post. Look around, God’s presence is around you, only if you have insight to find it.
Knowing that God is good is not something that you readily proclaim when your world is collapsing unless you feel His presence and His peace guiding you through the crisis.
Nahum, a 7th century prophet, saw his world collapse and yet with suffering around him, he wrote, “The Lord is good, a stronghold in the day of trouble; and He knows those who trust in Him.” (1:7)
How do you feel God’s presence and His peace and then know that He is good. By being in a difficult situation and finding that God is all that you need. Find the security in taking refuge in Him.
Back in the old days, cities were primarily protected by walls and inside those walls, military leaders or VIPs have fortresses or strongholds that are quite difficult to breach. When Nahum wrote about God is our stronghold, he meant that we can run to God and find our refuge in Him.
Nahum adds, “He knows those who trust in Him.”. Just as a father knows the cry of his child, God knows and hears the voice of those who call on Him with a sincere heart.
Find a secret place or a spot or a corner where you can daily reach out to God, our Father and tell Him, “Lord, I need help today. Please walk with me and help me experience your presence and your peace.”
Take refuge in the goodness of the God who will never fail you. He is your stronghold.
Question for reflection
What’s keeping you from experiencing His presence and His peace? Is it a sin, repent from it and ask the Holy Spirit’s guidance to help you flee from that sin. Is it worry? Turn on a good worship music to lift the fog of heaviness and replace it with His presence.
One small step in the right direction
Download the One Minute Pause app by Ransomed Heart Ministries. It is based on John Eldredge’s book “Get Your Life Back.” I haven’t read the book yet, but I am liking the app so much. Go to a quiet corner where you can be alone. Turn on the app and allow God to minister to you. Breathe in. Breathe out. Give everyone and everything to God.