Many years ago the teacher of our Young Marrieds Sunday School Class would regularly remind us to practice the presence of God. His admonition became a goal for me. I have remembered it often over the years and more often in the past few years. Psalm 105:4 says, “Seek the Lord and his strength, seek his presence continually.” I can’t say that I am aware of his presence continually, but I am confident He is there whether I am aware of it or not.
I am a very visual person, so I really like cookbooks with pictures of the finished recipes. A few days after Valentine’s Day, my morning devotion was about God being with us. As I thought about his presence, I prayed that God would show me a picture to help me understand his presence better.
“Look to the LORD and His strength; seek His face always.” Psalm 105:4 NIV
My first thought was of Valentine’s Day at the school where I had worked. The parents were given the opportunity to order Valentine balloons to be delivered to their child, friends or teachers during school on Valentine’s Day. During carpool at the end of the day there were clouds of red heart shaped balloons hovering just over the heads of the students lining the hallways while they waited to be picked up.
The picture God gave me was his presence surrounding me like bunches of red heart shaped balloons. I know God’s presence is not annoying or in the way like real balloons would be. I cannot see His presence or touch it. But when I focus on Him, I can feel His amazing peace and realize I don’t have to go through anything alone. And I like to think of him being so close I can feel him gently nudging me with every breath I take.
It is easier to practice the presence of God when I am struggling with something and feel like I need God’s help. When things are going smoothly and all is good, I feel pretty self-sufficient. But in reality I believe we are always saturated with a need for God’s presence whether things are going well or not.
In Deuteronomy 8:3, Moses told the Israelites, “Man does not live by bread alone, but man lives by every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord.” He gives us the air we breathe and everything we have. There is never a moment that I don’t need God.
My prayer is for the knowledge that God is present with me to saturate my heart, mind and soul, so I can be continually aware that I can rely on His love, strength, help, comfort and peace.
~ Meet Joyce Abernathy ~
Joyce Abernathy has been married to her husband Dana for almost 40 years. They have four grown children and five grandchildren. She just recently retired after working as an elementary school secretary for 20 years. She enjoys spending time with family and friends and learning new craft skills.