Living in God’s presence


By Betty Slade

Six inches of fresh snow fell to the earth that morning. I sat in my recliner with my Bible and cup of coffee in hand. Flames danced in the fireplace, sharing its warmth. In my red robe with missing eyelets, I enjoyed the comfort of my favorite worn blanket tucked around me. My Sweet Al reclined in his faded camouflage pajamas.

I said to him, “Look at us. We’re a mess, but God delights in us and we are living in the utter extravagance of his presence.”

“Huh?” Al nodded, closed his eyes and went to another place.

I had just read, “We are empowered to make the right decisions as we walk into our destiny … and we are to let our lives be shaped by integrity with truth written on our hearts.” — Proverbs 2:11, 3:3 (TPT).

In a light bulb moment, I said, “Al, would we have pictured ourselves in this place? We are where we belong and we’re living in what we pursued our whole life. What do you think it means to let our lives be shaped by integrity into our destiny?”

I gave Al an example. “We think heaven is our destiny and we are moving toward it, but in reality, the Bible says we are moving into our destiny and being shaped by integrity and truth. We have entered into our destiny and we are sitting in the presence of God; we don’t have to wait for heaven to come.”

I believe my deep find escaped him, but I continued, “I never told you what I did one afternoon. It was a hairbrained moment, but I was desperate.”

Al’s eyes opened. He perked up and braced himself. “OK, what did you do?”

I got his attention. Remember when Dan Laue carved a 5-foot cross from a tree trunk and gave it to me, I asked him to place it in our north meadow. I could see it from our window and I loved to looked it.

At the time, I envied people who seemed to have God’s ear. I strived for God’s presence, just a moment where I felt like I had heard from God. Once in a while I would receive inklings, but those visits vanished as quickly as they came. I was starved to live in his presence.

That cross drew me up the hill. I sat down at its base and refused to leave until I heard from God. Cars passed by and people looked my way. At first I felt embarrassed sitting on a stump out in the open meadow. What were people thinking of me?

I pushed out the voices in my head and turned my eyes upward. I begged God to talk with me. I waited for a long time, fighting my own embarrassment but desiring God’s presence more.

Then it happened. A breeze passed by. The long autumn grass swayed and I could hear a slight rustling. I heard a message, not audibly, but deep in my heart. “Learn to hear me in the nothing.”

I looked around. No one was there. I shook in the nothingness of the moment. God was there.

I walked down the hill to the house. Pleased I had heard from God, so pleased, when I spoke at an artist’s and writer’s retreat, I told the attendees what happened. I gave them an assignment.

They were to write something out of the nothing. All eyes fell on me as if I had gone nuts. That was 2003 and today they still remind me what I asked them to do. “We can’t believe you asked us to write in the nothing.”

I could only explain to the depth I understood. I was beginning to learn the principle of listening. From surrender and silence, I heard from God and entered his presence.

Recently, I wrote an article for the newspaper with a lurking deadline staring at me. The article was missing the point. It didn’t have an element to make it worthy for the ink on the paper. In the night hours, I mulled over several endings, but all fell short.

I had read the day before, “God gave us his divine revelation when he broke open the hidden fountains of the deep, bringing secret springs to the surface as the mist of the night dripped down from heaven.” — Proverbs 3:20 (TPT).

His words came to me in the early quiet morning. His words were like mist dripping down, a word at a time, a moment of divine revelation. They came drip by drip. God had my ear. I was desperate to hear. I was willing to listen.

He says, “Wisdom is a gift from a generous God and every word he speaks is full of revelation and becomes a fountain of understanding within us as we are found in his presence.” — Proverbs 4:6 (TPT).

Final brushstroke: That morning, with fresh snow on the ground, I reminded Al how blessed we were sitting in our destiny in God’s presence. We are told to let our lives be shaped by integrity as we seek to live into our destiny by being in God’s presence.

Views expressed do not necessarily represent those of The SUN.