Here Not There.
Greg Attwells – Creative Pastor
Psalm 16:8 NLT
I know the Lord is always with me.
I will not be shaken, for He is right beside me.
What does it mean for the Lord to be present? We know that He is everywhere and we know that nothing is hidden from His sight. But Psalm 16:8 feels different. David draws His strength from the fact that God is right beside him. He finds security and safety in the fact that God is not only there, but here. He is reminding himself that the greatest source of strength, passion and delight is with him.
I’ve had an absent Dad my whole life. He is still alive, he was just never around or involved. I remember being in a christian counselling session where I was asked to picture God the Father. I closed my eyes and found myself sitting in a garden with God the Father some distance away near a tree. What I realised was that I subconsciously felt that God the Father was there, just not here… where I am. My Dad was always there, just never here all that much and I carried the same expectations into my relationship with God.
So let me ask again, what does it mean for God to be present? The most common Hebrew term for ‘presence’ is panim, which is also translated ‘face’, implying a close and personal encounter with the Lord. The Greek word for ‘presence’ is prosopon, also translating as ‘face’. This means that when God says He is with you or beside you, He is also saying His face & favour is toward you.
As you spend time alone with God today, expect God to bless you and keep you. Expect Him to make His face shine upon you and be gracious to you. Expect Him to lift up His countenance upon you and give you peace.
He isn’t just there, He is here.
Are there any areas of shame or hurt that make it hard for you to acknowledge and enjoy God’s intimate presence? What are they? Invite God to speak to you about them.
What environments help you feel closest and most connected to God?
What do you need to do to make time alone with God a priority and a reality?