PRESENT

PRESENT

What is present to us? What exists? What is here with us? What is occurring in this current time? What are we now considering or discussing? Many things are present. Our jobs, our careers, our livelihoods, the economy, our loves, our lives; but our God? Is God present? We like to think that He is. For some of us, we may even force ourselves to mouth that He is, for fear of supernatural reprisal.

Now, many of us don’t dispute the fact that God exists. By virtue of the fact that we get affected by horror movies centered around ghosts and ghouls, we already give our implicit stamp of belief to the fact that if evil spirits exist, good spirits must exist too. Therefore, if the devil exists, then God must exist too. But do we believe that He is present? Tough one, isn’t it? After all, we have never seen God. We have never touched God. I even chanced upon a video message once of some guy standing up, in front of a crowd and claiming that the ones who wrote the Gospels lived 80 to 100 years after Christ supposedly did, so since they never spent any time with Jesus, what they wrote must have been fairy tales.

But that, beloved, is what I love about our Father. He is not a God of the masses. He is not a God whose interests are confined to the mega churches. He is not a God who works only on a Sunday and then rests the other 6 days. He is a personal God. He believes in a one-on-one relationship. He doesn’t care where you are; as long as you call out to Him, He will come straight to you. His heart is for you and He loves you. And the example He set for us and the decree that He left for us show us that He is working 6 days a week. And even when He decreed that we were to take it easy on the 7th day, hey, He still healed. In fact, this is what He said about the Sabbath rest.

“The Sabbath was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath.” Mark 2:27

The rest was made for us to enjoy. Our Father needs no rest. For indeed,

“Have you not known?
Have you not heard?
The everlasting God, the Lord,
The Creator of the ends of the earth,
Neither faints nor is weary.
His understanding is unsearchable.” Isaiah 40:28

Even when Jesus must have been tired in His limited earthly body, He still found refreshment when He ministered to the Samaritan woman. For when His disciples returned from buying food and asked Him to eat,

“But He said to them, “I have food to eat of which you do not know.”” John 4:32

Our Father is a God who loves; loves passionately, loves unconditionally, and best of all, loves personally; no matter who you are, where you are or what you are. But all this won’t mean anything to you if you think that God is not present in your life; if you think that the career you have, the car you own, the house you live in and the money in your bank; were the fruits of your hard work, and your hard work only. If indeed you do not think that God exists in your situation, if you do not consider all that you have achieved to be a blessing from Him, truly, He will not be present to you. It’s like this.

A boy drops his first tooth, and believing the stories he had been told by his parents about the tooth fairy, he puts the tooth under his pillow. His parents, knowing that he has done that, secretly replace that tooth with a dollar bill when the boy is sleeping. Now, suppose the boy starts to believe in the myth of the tooth fairy and one day, after a bitter argument with his parents, decides to run away from home. A few hours later, he gets hungry. So he decides to pull one of his teeth out and place it under his pillow ‘knowing’ that the tooth fairy will give him the dollar. Will he still find the dollar bill under his pillow now?

And that’s exactly it. Just like the boy needed to put his faith in the right person, we need to realize that we succeed because our Father is present. He doesn’t tell us a lie, He doesn’t conjure up stories about tooth fairies. Of course not. He makes it very clear that it is Him who is helping us. The tale spinner is the devil. Yet, he is such a good story teller that we start to be taken in by his fables of our might and power that we start to believe that the success that we have achieved is because we are our own tooth fairy. So when that happens, when we buy into those myths and lies, our Father ceases to be present in our mind’s eye.

But you know what, beloved, no matter where we are, no matter how we see our Father, it doesn’t change the fact that He is always present.

“God is our refuge and strength,
A very present help in trouble.
Therefore we will not fear,
Even though the earth be removed,
And though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea;
Though its waters roar and be troubled,
Though the mountains shake with its swelling.” Psalm 46:1

Even if the earth be removed. Even if the very foundations upon which we build our sense of security is suddenly pulled from under our feet like a rug; even if all that we have built up gets swept into the sea; even if we are then thrown into that very sea of troubles and it threatens to overwhelm us; our Father is, not was, not is to come, is, our refuge and strength. He is present. He is here. He is now. And we will do well to be constantly discussing this fact with Him in prayer.

But how do we know this? He doesn’t speak with an audible voice. He has no image that we should see Him. How do we know that He is here?

“Come, behold the works of the Lord,
Who has made desolations in the earth.
He makes wars cease to the end of the earth;
He breaks the bow and cuts the spear in two;
He burns the chariot in the fire.” Psalm 46:8-9

Were there wars in your life which ceased? Were there disputes which dissolved? Oh sure, it was because you had developed such a wonderful magnetism in your personality that adversaries cannot help but bend the knee to your diplomacy, right?

Were there words, like arrows, that were flung in your direction? Accusations that flew your way? Troubles that seem to chase you down wherever you went? Sure, your acute business sense and well-honed crisis resolution skills got you out of that one, right?

Beloved, wake up and smell the coffee.

But if you are caught in a rut and you don’t seem to be getting an answer, if your disappointment is the reason why you are starting to feel like God is not present, remember what Jesus said to Thomas.

“Jesus said to him, Because you have seen Me, Thomas, do you now believe (trust, have faith)? Blessed and happy and to be envied are those who have never seen Me and yet have believed and adhered to and trusted and relied on Me.” John 20:29 [AMPC]

Blessed are you, beloved, for you have believed though you have never seen.

My colleagues in the history department used to dig us geographers saying that history makes the best teacher because hindsight is 20/20. In this instance, I wholeheartedly agree. When we look back on our lives and see each and every situation our Father has pulled us out of. When we look back on our lives and see each and every provision that was given just in time, we cannot help but arrive at the conclusion that our Father is very much present in our lives. Though the world seeks to blind us from this reality, though the world tries to rob us of the peace that Jesus came to bring us, looking merely at our own histories reveals what a personal, loving and faithful Father we have.

Sure, the world mocks us. Sure, people speak against us. Sure, there are many who tell us to grow up and stop believing in fairy tales. But personally, there has never been a critic that has not been silenced, and I am sure that if it has not already been for you, it will be very soon. You see, Jesus did say,

“Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and kill you, and you will be hated by all nations for My name’s sake. And then many will be offended, will betray one another, and will hate one another. Then many false prophets will rise up and deceive many. And because lawlessness will abound, the love of many will grow cold.” Matthew 24:9-12

“But he who endures to the end shall be saved. And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness to all the nations, and then the end will come.” Matthew 24:13-14

Beloved, “The Lord knows those who are His” 2 Timothy 2:19

Your life is a living testament to His love. Through the work that He is doing in your life, He is proclaiming His love to all those around you. For indeed, whatever you are going through, however you have been blessed, all those things happen

“So that [the genuineness] of your faith may be tested, [your faith] which is infinitely more precious than the perishable gold which is tested and purified by fire. [This proving of your faith is intended] to redound to [your] praise and glory and honor when Jesus Christ (the Messiah, the Anointed One) is revealed.” 1 Peter 1:7 [AMPC]

So how can He be anything but present in your life?

Beloved, make no mistake. Our Father is present. He exists and is in your particular space right now. Consider that and discuss His future plans for you with Him in prayer. Make each prayer a conversation, not a monologue, and you will see just how loving, how caring, how personal and most of all, how present He is in your life.

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