Surrounded By The Presence of God
I remember once this past summer, as I walked the streets of Edinburgh, lost in thought and content to feel the stones on the road beneath my feet, I suddenly felt overwhelmed with an incredible sense of joy and peace.
I can't do justice to that moment with mere words. It was unexpected. I'd been living under a shadow that day, filled with uncertainty about the future, unsure of what came next.
I was afraid to ask God for help or anything at all. I had already decided there would be nothing but silence in response to any plea I might make. So I kept my prayers to myself.
And then suddenly, I knew I wasn't alone on that crowded street. God was with me.
The world seemed brighter all of a sudden. I felt my senses heightened. I realized I could smell every wonderful scent of the city, hear every sound as music, and I saw everyone around me as beautiful and unique.
"It's you," I said out loud, and then I felt lost in that moment, not wanting to relinquish how I felt for anything in the world. I stood there on the street, taking it all in, reveling in how my soul seemed to leap out of my chest out of sheer happiness.
Later, when the old feelings of uncertainty returned, and all of the unresolved issues in my heart lingered, I would remember that feeling I felt on the street, and even though it had faded some, I could still feel it.
There are moments in life when you realize that there's more going on than what you can perceive and that God's presence might be all around you.
I was reading the other day from a book of poems by the 13th-century Persian poet Rumi, and this line stood out for me:
a voice out of this world
calls on our soul
to wake up and rise.
I love how the poet describes God's reaching out to us as an "every moment" thing. The realization that God is speaking to us, making God's presence known, and letting us know that we are seen is astounding. When that realization lands on us, it ought to change us forever.
But sadly, far too many of us choose to live without one ear to the ground. We go about our lives as if the Universe is indifferent when in reality, the problem lies within our obstinate spirit.
Sometimes it takes a breakthrough moment like the one I described to shake us up. Or we find ourselves at the end of our rope, only to discover God was there all along.
And even when we realize that the presence of God surrounds us, we often forget what that feels like over time unless we remind ourselves of it repeatedly.
This reflection is one of my ways to remind myself I am not alone and that God is with me, speaking to me all the time. What will yours be today? What memory can you recover of a time when you just knew that you were in the presence of God?
May you hold on to that memory and the hope that it brings. May you feel the presence of God all around you, in you, and through you.
And may the grace and peace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you now and always. Amen.