This is something that we all crave. We may not be conscious of it at all times, but we crave it just the same. We want to feel the nearer presence of God don’t we? God seemed so near and present long ago. God would appear and he would speak and he would say, “I am going to do this for you” and then it would happen and everyone would know that God was near. Jesus came and walked among the people and they knew that God was near. After his death and resurrection he appeared to them and was known to show up at dinner time to break bread with them. Just before his final departure, he promised to be “with them to the end of the ages” and they had no trouble believing this because, after all, they had eaten dinner with a man who was supposed to be dead. If he looked like Jesus and sounded like Jesus and felt like Jesus, then, it must be Jesus. They would know the nearer presence of God from that time forward.
I haven’t welcomed Jesus to my dinner table (as in, he sat there with me and I talked to him) lately, have you? I haven’t taken a walk down the beach and had the occasion to shake hands with the Lord, have you (given what happened last time Jesus walked the beach and shook hands with people, I’m not sure I am ready for that anyway)? I have even asked Jesus to be present with me in a way that I could know it without doubt and I have been somewhat disappointed that he didn’t show up and put his arm around me and tell me very clearly what to do. I’m not asking for much am I? I just want to know he’s here. I just want to know he is present. I just want to know he is alive in me.
And yet I know. I can’t explain it really. I just know. Sometimes I really do sense his presence in a way that I don’t sense it every day, like on Easter Sunday or at the church retreat. When I speak to God I know he is listening. I don’t know what he will do with my words but I go to rambling on just the same; I know he is listening, otherwise I am a crazy man who likes to talk to the air with the unrealistic hope that “someone” up in the clouds can hear me. When we are in church, I am certain that God is near because I’ve always been told that it is God’s “house” and I have always taken that concept very seriously. I know God doesn’t live there, but I know that when I am in church that he feels like he is closer to me there than he is in my garage. Or, maybe it is true; maybe God does live there. Maybe God lives everywhere. Maybe God lives in me. Maybe this is how I know he is around, or near, even when I cannot see him. Even when my eyes are closed. Maybe I have been given the ability, through my senses, to “feel” that God is here. Like, maybe I, maybe we have been wired to know it and to feel it.
So, like the baby birds, we wait. We wait silently and patiently for God to come. We know it when he does. We may have to wait a while, or maybe we have to wait mere seconds. He is near. We know it. We can sense it. If you have ever felt his presence in any way, shape, or form then you know what I mean. The thing to remember about that is this. God didn’t just show up that one time only to fly away and never return leaving you hungry for more. He comes back again and again. We just have to be still and quiet so we will know it when it comes. Oh, and it helps to keep your eyes open.
Maybe that’s what he meant when he said, “be still and know that I am God”.