6.16.2008

Signs of Grace

It was a simple enough question, yet profoundly challenging: "Describe
a time this past week in which you experienced God's presence." I
heard it at a church leadership retreat over a month ago, but continue
to hear it ringing in my ears; especially since I can seem to go days,
even days in which I have my morning devotions and think on Kingdom
things and do great acts of service, in which I fail to still myself
long enough to experience the very presence of God in my life.

When I do take the time to be still, I realize why I don't do this
more often: the silence is frightening. I am filled with shame and
discomfort and dread. Some is appropriate: I am a sinful man, and I
have finally slowed down enough to remember that I am in the presence
of Almight God. And some is terribly inappropriate: absent my actions
and accomplishments, my strivings and doings, I feel painfully
vulnerable and naked, as if with those things I could somehow hold my
own against God.

Thankfully, when I do take the time to be still long enough to let the
shame and discomfort and dread flood over me, I realize why I ought to
do this more often: such feelings are replaced with a sense of relief
and awe and conviction. For to be in the presence of God, even and
especially naked of any armor we seek to shield ourselves with, is to
recall that our God embraces us, loves us, accepts us.

What a profound reality: to be accepted by God Almighty. So I ask
myself again: why is it that I so busy myself that I can go days and
realize later that I haven't taken the time to experience His
presence?

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