Is it nonsense to say we want more of God’s presence? Is it ridiculous to sing of our desire for more of Him? Is it sentimental to invite Him to come to meet with us?
Some say this is so.
The bible doesn’t agree.
‘Without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.’
To say we long for more of Him demonstrates the heart of the psalmist, the same heart as the one of whom God could say:
‘I have found David son of Jesse, a man after my own heart; he will do everything I want him to do.’
David, the great lover of God.
‘You, God, are my God, earnestly I seek you; I thirst for you, my whole being longs for you, in a dry and parched land where there is no water.
I have seen you in the sanctuary and beheld your power and your glory.
Because your love is better than life, my lips will glorify you.
I will praise you as long as I live, and in your name I will lift up my hands.
I will be fully satisfied as with the richest of foods;
With singing lips my mouth will praise you.
On my bed I remember you;
I think of you through the watches of the night.
Because you are my help, I sing in the shadow of your wings.
I cling to you; your right hand upholds me.’
David prayed this:
You make known to me the path of life;
you will fill me with joy in your presence,
with eternal pleasures at your right hand.’
We aren’t ignorant enough to believe God is absent if we don’t invite His presence, we know He is closer than the air we breathe even though we may often be unconscious of the fact.
What we also know is that He loves to be wanted, invited, and welcomed, He doesn’t want us to hide from Him.
‘Then the man and his wife heard the sound of the LORD God as he was walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and they hid from the LORD God among the trees of the garden.
But the LORD God called to the man, “Where are you?”
He answered, “I heard you in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid.”‘
We love God and have the deepest awe-filled respect for Him and we most certainly don’t wish to take His presence for granted. We want to know His heart, and to obey Him with all of ours.
So we cry out for Him to come and meet with us. To make His presence felt in ways which will please Him on that particular occasion.
‘Whoever has my commandments and keeps them, he it is who loves me. And he who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I will love him and manifest myself to him.” Judas (not Iscariot) said to him, “Lord, how is it that you will manifest yourself to us, and not to the world?” Jesus answered him, “If anyone loves me, he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him. Whoever does not love me does not keep my words. And the word that you hear is not mine but the Father’s who sent me.’
When we gather we can genuinely ask ourselves the question ‘What will Jesus do?’ because if we are willing to admit we need His presence and that we aren’t able to do more than organise a framework of a meeting, (why do we call it a meeting if we don’t want to meet Him?) then we have to allow for the fact that His presence could, really, make a difference.
If we won’t allow for this fact, then we protect ourselves from disappointment in some ways as we have no expectation of more, but if we permit ourselves to be vulnerable and admit we long for more, and that our ‘this’ is nowhere near enough without Him making His presence felt, then we give room for Him to come and take down our barriers and dismantle our confining structures.
Will we be like David in Psalm 63 and cry for more? Or will we be like Adam and hide when we hear Him coming?
Come on, let’s make ourselves vulnerable, let’s admit we haven’t had nearly enough of Him yet, after all, He loves to reward those who seek for Him.