Reflecting on the Presence of God

I think this theme on the presence of God has been getting onto me since the end of last year, when Ps Jeff preached about the Greatest Gift - which is the presence of God in our lives. Lo and behold, when I started school in AGBC, the direction for the school this year would end up to be the Presence of God. I thought to myself: this cannot be coincidence.

We often heard about the omnipresence of God. And we know that He is everywhere. That becomes the reason why we, as Christians, have never had a need to build a physical altar that God can reside in, so that we can go there and pray to Him. No, because He is omnipresence, that we can go to Him as and where we are and seek Him, talk to Him and cry out to Him, understanding that He will hear us. In fact, as I am reflecting on the presence of God in my life, the very simple Lord's Prayer comes to my mind. In Matthew 6:9, Jesus taught a very simple opening to an example of prayer to His listeners: "Our Father in heaven, hallowed be Your Name...". The very simple opening reveals an even simpler presupposition to all our prayers as Christians (assuming that my readers are all Christians who pray) - that we acknowledge the presence of God as we pray.

In view of this, I just think back to what I learned a week earlier in Bangkok, during the annual AGBC college camp. The speaker talked about the presence of God but couched it in a different way. We don't experience the presence of God only during big meetings, conferences or special services but because God is omnipresence, we get to experience Him everywhere and we experience His presence the most when we spend our personal time with Him. That is the reason why we need to come to Him on a regular basis to seek Him and learn to build our relationship with Him. Perhaps that's the reason why God had to encourage Joshua to continually meditate on His word and that He will be with him wherever he goes. The meditation of God's word and the coming to His presence on a regular basis are part and parcel of building the relationship with God. That being said, it does mean that there is no shortcut for us, as Christ followers, in terms of building our intimacy with God. It first has to sprout from our daily discipline. I liken this to our pursuit of our life partners. Coming from a very inexperienced viewpoint, considering that I am not yet attached or married, but if we need to put in hard work if we want to build good relationship and understanding with our partners. Perhaps that does not just apply to marriage but also to all the relationships we are building around us.

At this moment, it reminds me of a reason why the presence of God is so much important to us. We need to hear from Him on a daily basis, because this is primary avenue where God can lead us, speak to us regarding His plans for us. I am not thinking of Jeremiah 29:11 here (since to quote this verse here is to quote it out of context and misappropriating the verse) but I am thinking more of Ephesians 2:10 - that we are God's handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do the good works He has prepared in advanced for us. If there's good works that God has prepared in advanced for us, then it makes much sense for us to continually seek Him to let Him lead us to where He has called us to be. It thus makes sense to me also that it has to start from our daily relationship with Him and the regular coming to His presence, of which there is no shortcut. This is something which I have been contemplating for a long time, do we really need to go to a conference or big event to let God speak to us? Does God only speak to us during a camp? (But to qualify, sometimes we hear God more clearly in such settings precisely because of the time we set aside to seek Him and to hear from Him.)

At this point, I can aptly bring out my journey to AGBC, which I have recounted at some point in here and here. But what I have not realised is that how ordinary the journey that led up to my matriculation was. Sure, the final nail was the confirmation during the 2012 conference, but God was already providentially leading me. And as I reflect, it was perhaps because my heart was ready to hear from Him and His presence thus became evident in the whole journey. This excites me a lot, because this means that I can hear from Him even in the most ordinary of circumstances and in the most ordinary times with Him. It is not something very complicated, though it does require something very disciplined.

Lastly, I would like to end this treatise with this verse:
So do not fear, for I am with you;
do not be dismayed, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you and help you;
I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. - Isa 41:10
Because we are assured of God's presence in our lives, because we are assured of His leading in His presence, we have no need to fear, because He is our God, and He will strengthen us and help us.

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