robably one of the most visited ch. dhood memories my mind will drift off to is when I was about six or seven years old. The random rumble of lawnmowers or extremely bright sunbeams in an ocean blue sky trigger my thoughts back to our humble residence on Lake Ridge Drive. My family lived in a periwinkle two story home with a spacious back yard approximately challengeinutes west of Boise, Idaho, in a city called Nampa. I remember there was a big sand colored boulder near the north east corner of our house. Some distance behind it was Daddy’s small but prosperous vegetable garden and to the right of it stood the little wooden toolshed where he stored his garden tools and supplies. The span of the sage green lawn seemed almost endless every time I heard the lawnmower jangling outside as he carefully mowed the grass in long, straight rows.
The memory, in particular, was an uneventful summery afternoon. Nothing extraordinary occurred… other than the overwhelming joy that filled my almost overly excited little heart. Birds tweeted in the nearby trees and the air burst with mixed fragrances of freshly trimmed grass and seasonal blooms. I don’t remember hearing any of the neighbor’s kids outside playing or automobiles driving through our zone. I don’t even recall where the rest of my family members might have been in those brief moments. Perhaps it was because I was entirely absorbed by the fragile butterflies flapping past me as I skipped from there to fro, stopping in any given moment to blow bubbles into the warm and open atmosphere. It seemed like with every puff of air I drove through that clear plastic little wand, the excitement of being alive intensified. Then, abruptly, I slightly bent forward and let out a piercing scream…
It wasn’t because I was scared. I didn’t see a violent animal dashing toward me. Nobody was nearby to chase after me. There wasn’t any indication of trouble anywhere. My reaction was the result of pure joy. Complete satisfaction. True contentment.
Maybe on that certain sunny day in the quietness of my backyard, I didn’t fully comprehend the Lord (I still don’t as His ways are higher than ours), but I knew there was something special as His presence surrounded me. Running and frolicking in the wide open air as I inhaled the beauty of God’s master craftsmanship gave me such an indescribable feeling – all I could do was shriek with unspeakable joy.
This is possibly my earliest recollection of being in the presence of the Lord. David wrote in Psalms 16:11, “…You will fill me with joy in Your presence…” And joyful I was.
Here are two things you must know about the presence of God:
1) He is very close to you.
Acts 17:26-28 states, “From one man He made all the nations, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and He marked out their appointed times in history and the boundaries of their lands. 27 God did this so that they would seek Him and perhaps reach out for Him and find Him, though He is not far from any one of us. 28 ‘For in Him we live and move and have our being…’ (emphasis mine).
If you look for Him, you will find Him.
2) He is always with you.
David knew very well what that meant:
“Where can I go from Your Spirit?
Where can I flee from Your presence?
If I go up to the heavens, You are there;
if I make my bed in the depths, You are there.
If I rise on the wings of the dawn,
if I settle on the far side of the sea,
even there Your hand will guide me,
Your right hand will hold me fast.
If I say, “Surely the darkness will hide me
and the light become night around me,”
even the darkness will not be dark to You;
the night will shine like the day,
for darkness is as light to You.” (vv. 7-12).
You cannot go anywhere where God cannot see you.
When the matters of life seem burdensome, when fear and doubt arise from the shadows, when failures and disappointments overtake us, let’s remember to follow the psalmist’s example and seek His presence where we can be refreshed and renewed as we shout praise and thanksgiving to Him! God is always available and hopeful that we will look for Him!