God is my constant companion.
“Do you not know that you are a temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you?”(1 Corinthians 3:16, NKJV).
I walk with Him. I talk to Him. I guess it would be scary if it weren’t so much fun having Him hang around. Sometimes, just for fun, I’d stop and ask:
Are you here God?
And without fail, the answer comes before I’ve finished my sentence.
“Am I a God who is near, declares the Lord, And not a God far off?”( Jeremiah 23:23, NASB).
Now, maybe it isn’t God. Perhaps it’s my Guardian Angel or the Holy Spirit or whoever God sees fit to send to hang out with me. But to me, it’s the Great Guy himself. A father figure dressed in robes, flowing grey hair and beard, and a twinkle in his eyes.
Was I always this close to Him? Absolutely not. I believed in Him. I loved Him. I respected Him. But a constant companion?
It took life to kick me around a few times before I became aware of His “Presence.” And once experienced and encountered, my life changed forever.
An encounter with God
“The Lord is near to the brokenhearted
And saves those who are crushed in spirit” (Psalm 34:18, NASB).
My first encounter came in June of 1984. We were living in Belgium, and I was heavily pregnant with our daughter. I was on my knees next to our bed, begging for a safe delivery, a healthy baby.
The odds were against me. I was 40-years-old. There was Down’s syndrome in our family (a first cousin.) And although I’d had an amniocentesis test that showed a healthy little girl, nothing is foolproof.
I was so very tired. My family was in faraway South Africa. I put my head on the bed and just laid there when I became aware of a “Presence.”
I looked up and towards the window on the left. There was nothing visible, and yet there was a “Presence” in the window.
How to describe what I felt? I wish I could. It was warmth, love, peace, a knowing that everything was going to be just peachy.
The “Presence,” which was invisible, and I looked at each other. It didn’t leave. I had to struggle and waddle up from my knees as the little one had started kicking. Presence or no presence, she was sick of being squished against the bed.
And it was gone
I pondered over this experience again and again, not sharing it with anyone. How does one share something that profound anyway?
The next time I was blessed with a — would it be sacrilegious to call it a visitation? — came 10 years later.
We were going through a tumultuous time in our marriage. That little kicking bundle was at school in Switzerland. My husband was in the United States, and I was living in Spain. A long and convoluted story!
I was truly at the end of my emotional tether, and any reserves I might once have had were long gone. I sat down on our bed, too weary to go to my knees. I folded my hands on my lap and stared at the wall.
“I dwell on a high and holy place,
And also with the contrite and lowly of spirit
In order to revive the spirit of the lowly
And to revive the heart of the contrite” (Isaiah 57:15, NASB).
Something made me turn my head to the right, and the tears came.
There, in the corner of the bedroom, was the “Presence.” I had no words, no desire to converse with whatever it was. I closed my eyes and allowed the quiet, the calm, the peace, and love to roll over me. Yes, I didn’t know how or when or what form it would take, but everything would turn out just peachy.
Did life turn out perfect with nary a rimple after this? Of course not. I had many lessons to learn and a long and hard road ahead. Then came the ultimate test for any person.
That little bundle that had kicked her objections against being squashed, who had turned into a beautiful, energetic teenager with long blond hair and bright blue eyes, found herself in the wrong place at the wrong time and became another statistic of gun violence.
We buried her on a crisp, clear day. I lowered her casket into the grave myself. I’d brought her into this world; I would be the one to see her to her final resting place.
I had no tears left. I was drained, a puppet walking, talking, smiling, saying “thank you,” wanting to be left alone. My husband took me back to the hotel, and I kicked off my shoes, laid down, and closed my eyes.
She’s yours now, God, I said. Thank you for letting me have her for 18 years.
I wish there were a more descriptive word than peace. All I know, as I lay there, it was fluffy blankets and hot chocolate on a cold morning all rolled into one.
It was the “Presence.” It was God.
“Behold, I am with you and will keep you wherever you go” (Genesis 28:15, NASB).
In years to come, as I stepped back in time, I reconsidered whether there ever was anything physical to see. Was there a shimmer? A glitter? Something like a haze? Was it like looking through a super-fine lace curtain?
No, there was nothing to be seen. It was there to be felt. Something of which you stand in awe. Something that defies human description. It was:
“I Am Who I Am.”
“God said to Moses, ‘I AM WHO I AM.’ And he said, ‘Say this to the people of Israel, ‘I AM has sent me to you’. . . this is my name for ever, and thus I am to be remembered throughout all generations.” (Ex 3:14–15, NASB).
God is with us
So, don’t ask me if God is real. Mine is. He does seem to show up in extraordinary circumstances. Instead, nowadays, we walk, and we talk.
Yes, I would love to have another visit from the “Presence” but maybe the fact that I am aware of Him wherever I go and whatever I do is the “Presence,” and I just got used to it.
The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.