In God’s Presence

Read: “Seek the Lord and his strength, seek his presence continually.” 1 Chronicles 16:11 (NRSV)

Reflect: Most mornings, the first thing to enter my awareness as I’m waking up is physical pain. I have a genetic syndrome that brought pain into my life in early childhood and it has worsened. As things really ramped up, and the pain became constant and disabling, I prayed more intensely for relief, asking God to block the impact or effects caused by my genetic difference. I would pray and cry and argue, trying to convince God that I could do so much more for him if I wasn’t hurting all the time.

God answered my prayer. He said “no.”

And he also told my brother and one of my best friends that he wasn’t going to take this away as they prayed for me, but that wasn’t a heartless response. God gently guided a change in my perspective. He led me to realize that I didn’t need less pain; I needed more of him. I needed more of his strength, more of his presence, more of his love, more of the people he’s provided who come alongside to help me both physically and emotionally. By seeking his presence and strength, I remember that pain isn’t a barrier to living with joy and loving others well—it’s just pain. Again and again, God makes his constant presence known as he gives me the strength to embrace this life.

React: Surrendering to God’s will has not been an easy process for me. I needed to lay down my plans and vision for my life, as well as my desire for self-sufficiency and independent strength, to welcome what he was offering instead. Are there things God is asking you to surrender? We often can’t see the beauty he’s offering until we lay down our will and accept his.

Pray: God, thank you for your constant presence. Thank you for your gentle care, patience, and love as you guide us to accept your will.