Thursday, November 1, 2012

The Gift of God's Presence

This past week-end we went to the Oregon Coast to celebrate a daughter's birthday. It was a stormy, rainy week-end, but we enjoyed beautiful, huge waves and crashing surf. As is usual at the coast, it put me into a reflective, writing kind of mood. After a long walk, my feet had grown sore and I was waiting for a ride back from the insurance man, and enjoying the sounds of rain and waves on sand.

I love staying at a house close enough to the beach, so that I can open a window and hear the sounds of the surf at night, lulling us to sleep. I almost hate to go to sleep because I no longer hear the ocean, unless I wake myself up later to listen again to the deep sounds. Even when I'm lying there trying to concentrate on the sounds, I can only listen a bit before my mind wanders off and I find myself minutes later missing the sounds I am trying to hear. God's presence is a lot like that. I find myself thinking of Him, and then my mind wanders off, or urgent matters or chores interfere, and it's hours or days later when I again think of His presence with me. The ocean is always roaring, and God's presence is always there. It's me who drifts from it.

Another analogy I have found is the stars. They are always shining, always present....daytime, nighttime, storm or fair, it's just me that forgets to look up, or me that is separated by clouds or sunlight. The stars and the ocean are constants in the universe. God's presence is constant with me, as a child of His own, but my humanity prevents me from continually concentrating on and enjoying Him.

Years ago I read a famous book 'Practicing the Presence of God' with writings by Brother Lawrence who lived in the 17th century. I tried so hard to remember to practice God's presence, to keep it before my mind at all times. I tried, and I tried, and I tried, and that's where I failed. I have found after 50+ years of walking with Him, that He gently, always gently, intrudes into my consciousness when He wants me to listen, or simply be aware of Him. It's Him, and not me that is in charge of when He wants me to enjoy or practice His presence. I still try to make it a habit to become aware of Him upon waking and when going to bed at night...but I have found peace and rest in enjoying Him at His wish....just as I enjoy the stars and the sounds of the ocean when they are given me as gifts.

1 comment:

Peter Jones said... trying to listen to a don't want to miss any of it, but you can't absorb it all, no matter how hard you try. The idea of remembering His presence in the morning and at night at least gives routine markers for focusing on it. I like that.