Sometimes I hate my smart phone. I guess it really is more of a love/hate relationship, but I hate what I allow it inadvertently to do to my other relationships. And don’t act like you haven’t been there either. It can pull you away from meaningful conversation. It occupies time that would otherwise be well invested in the lives of those closest to you. It becomes a distraction from what could or should be termed as real life. It keeps you from being present. In fact at times I feel like I just have to take a sabbatical from it in order to be a better version of myself. Presence is something we as humans really seem to struggle with.
Fortunately for us this is not an issue for God. Although, the way we talk you might think it were. Sometimes we behave in ways as to insinuate that God isn’t present in a place. Or other times we allude to the fact that God is present somewhere when He hasn’t been before. But the apostle Paul has this to say about the presence of God, “Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to one hope when you were called; one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.” – Ephesians 4:3-6 Did you catch that last part? ‘One God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all’. Whether or not we recognize it, God is always present.
And I think the problem with us and sensing God’s presence is not a God problem. It’s a you and me problem. Much like our inability to be present with our friends and family with distractions like smart phones, we often allow other things to get in the way of us perceiving the presence of God. Paul says to make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through peace. So when we allow ourselves to be distracted by other influences and expectations and divisions, we won’t sense the presence of God. Even when we expect God to only be present in ways we have experienced His presence in the past, we are limiting our experience of who God is. The very giving of God’s name in Exodus 3 should keep us from doing this when God tells us, “I am what I am” or even better, “I will be what I will be”. (Exodus 3:14)
There is a worship song that was written a few years ago that I think helps us to see our responsibility in the presence and action of God that I think we would all be wise to give ear to today. The bridge simply says this, “Let us become more aware of Your Presence, Let us experience the glory of Your goodness” (Holy Spirit by Bryan and Katie Torwalt) Today, may we realize that God’s presence is all around us and that we are called to experience that presence with Him and to share it with those around us.