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Life can be very unpredictable without the grace of God. Only God knows the plans He has for each of us and only His grace can reveal it. We all pray and look forward faithfully to a life that is free of troubles. We know trouble will come, but we pray it will not overcome us. When trouble comes, we immediately begin to look for a way of escape. One of the most common reactions in times of trouble is to look for help. And for us, we most often look for help from man first before we remember God. We forget that “people will often ask you how far, but they cannot help you go far.” The word of God in Psalm 46:1 says, “God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.” Only God is always present to offer help in times of trouble. The main problem with us is that we fail to recognize that God is always present with us. Our God is an ever-present God, but we must recognize or experience His presence in order to take advantage of the help He brings.
We need the grace of God to recognize the presence of God in our lives. We need His grace to experience Him in times of trouble. We need the grace of God to overcome the avarices of the flesh which seek to battle His grace in our lives. It is because the desires of the flesh often overwhelm us that we are prevented from seeing the hands and presence of God in our situations. “For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh” (Galatians 5:17a). The grace to experience His presence is in the fruit of the Spirit. When we live according to the Spirit, we shall walk in step with the Spirit (Galatians 5:25). When our hearts are not in tune with God we cannot recognize or feel His presence. “Those who live according to the sinful nature have their minds set on what that nature desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires” (Romans 8:5).
There is hope in experiencing God’s presence – “Why are you in despair, O my soul? And why have you become restless and disturbed within me? Hope in God and wait expectantly for Him, for I shall again praise Him For the help of His presence” (Psalms 42:5 – AMP). You experience God’s protection when your experience/recognize His presence – “In the shelter of your presence you hide them from all human intrigues; you keep them safe in your dwelling from accusing tongues” (Psalms 31:20). When we experience God’s presence, our joy is full – In the presence of God is fullness of joy (Psalms 16:11). It is in our own interest and for our own good that we experience the presence of God in all we do and wherever we are – “But as for me, the nearness of God is my good” (Psalms 73:28a – NASB). So, let us covet a Christlike heart, because it is in doing this that that God will reveal to us the grace of His presence in all situations.
It is very important for us to recognize the presence of God in our lives. I came across this illustration that is attributed to Watchman Nee, a Chinese Christian, who wrote a lot of Christian books. Consider the walk of a man who has a few coins in his pocket and compare it with the walk of the same man when he has just collected a few thousand dollars from the bank. The walk of the one will be in a rather light-hearted and care-free manner while the other will be more cautious, often checking his pocket to make sure the money is still there. The cautious walk is because the man is aware of the load he is carrying. When you are aware of God’s presence with you all the time, you will check the load you are carrying. Some of us are carrying unprecedented sin. Some of us are carrying His glory. If you are not aware of His presence you will not know which load you are carrying. Awareness helps us to shed sinful loads. So, I ask that you pray that you will always experience God’s presence, because when you do, not only will you be fully aware of the load you are carrying, but you will have an assurance of His protection, and the fullness of His joy, no matter what the trouble is. May we all live lives that make us great candidates to receive the grace of experiencing His presence always. – Pastor Simbo Odunaiya