The Thrill of His Presence

It’s one of my favorite epigraphs in He Loves Me. At the beginning of Chapter Five are these words:

The great danger facing all of us . . . is that someday we may wake up and find that we have been busy with husks and trappings of life and have really missed life itself. That is what one prays one’s friends may be spared—satisfaction with a life that…has in it no tingle or thrill that comes from a friendship with the Father.

Phillips Brooks (1835–1893) in Sermons

Those seasons where I gave into distractions of life or let my spiritual journey slide into keeping up with the disciplines I’d been taught are the emptiest seasons of my life. Like most in such seasons, I accused God of going quiet as punishment for my waywardness or to try to make me work harder. I know better now; I had settled for something less than Presence. I had enough of God’s things in my hands that I thought I could move forward on my own.

This quote from Phillips Brooks touches something deep in me—the reminder of the tingle or thrill that comes only from his Presence. He shows up, often when I least expect it, with an insight, a connection with someone else, or a sense of serenity in the midst of a howling storm. Suddenly, my heart or body comes alive, knowing someone Greater is here—in me. The Presence is greater than any sorrow or uncertainty. It is comfort beyond description and joy unspeakable. When he shows up like that, I am confident that there is a way through anything that will lead to his life and light.

I don’t chase the thrill; that, too, can be a distraction. Instead, I relax into his reality, where I can recognize him. That’s the thrill!

Chapter 5 in He Loves Me is titled “Welcome Home” and will be the subject of a Zoom conversation this Saturday morning (October 28) as part of our continuing conversation through the themes of this book. You are welcome to join us at 11 a.m. PDT. You can find the link for this conversation on the Group Page on Facebook, or if you are not a member of Facebook, you can write me for a link. The conversations are held and recorded on Zoom. We stream them live on my Facebook Author Page for those who want to listen in. You’ll find our previous conversations there.

Being welcomed home is what Sara and I experienced this week from our seven-week trip. What a joy to be at home again in an environment that is warm and comforting. That’s what Jesus offered us with his Father in John 14—to be “at home” in him! You need not be intimidated or fearful in the presence of Jesus’s Father. You can be at rest in him even as he helps you negotiate the most painful realities of life in this broken world. You can’t learn this on your own; only Jesus can teach you how to be at rest in his love and goodness.

But don’t settle for anything less; it is the best part of living in this age. It may take a while for you to learn how to recognize the way he touches your heart and invites you into his household, but it is well worth learning. All of life pulls us away from that reality, but the invitation is always there. “Come to me, my beloved, and be at home in my heart.”


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