we were asked this question last night. what does it look like for me to be in the presence of God? and i thought back to when i first really believed in Jesus. the 18-year-old teenager who woke up every morning excited to hear from his Father. who cried out to his Abba about every situation. who remembered all the time that his life was in God's hands. who didn't worry about the future because his God had a plan.
i'm 23 years old now. a lot of things have changed. i'm no longer in my first year of college. i'm no longer in my parents' church where i grew up almost my entire life. i have an beautiful girlfriend who loves and supports me. i'm in an amazing and healthy life group who prays for and encourages me. i'm serving in a church that believes in the mission of God and wants to share the Gospel and multiply the local church. there are a lot of things that i've had to say good bye to. and there are a lot of things that i'm really blessed to have in my life now. but there's something that i miss more than anything else.
i miss that heart. i miss that excitement for the Lord. i miss being amazed every morning by my God's goodness. and it's not that i don't experience moments of His goodness nowadays. but that continual walking in His presence. always knowing in every moment that my God is with me. not fearing the world and the opposition that i face. stepping in bold steps in His name. for me, that was my definition of being in the presence of God.
continuously in the state of being overwhelmed by how much He loves me and cares for me. so much so that everything else pales in comparison. that the world looks different and i'm not as worried or afraid of what will happen next. i was reminded of what it's like being with amazing friends or family and having conversations and laughing for hours. never wanting that moment to end. the presence of God for me was like that. like a good friend that i could sit down with and never want to stop talking to. where i didn't want that last encounter to end. and even if i had to leave wherever i was at the time, the conversation would continue throughout the day because we had so much to talk about. and there were times when not talking was ok. because we would just enjoy each other's company. and that was enough. God was enough for me.
now that i'm older, there are a lot more obstacles to that presence. worrying about getting married, thinking about a master's degree, trying to figure out how to make money, etc. but i don't want that to be an excuse. i don't want to look for an easy way out. God is the most important person in my life. and i'm going to make time and space for Him. to read His Word. to pray and talk to Him. to walk with Him daily. to simply rest and be still with Him. there's always a way to spend time with Him. i've just been so caught up with smaller things that i throw His presence to the bottom of my priority list.
we were reading about how moses talked to God in exodus and how God told them to go somewhere but he wouldn't go with them. and moses refused and protested and would not want to go unless God went with them. how often do i leave God behind because want i want is more important than him? it was so convicting. i want the heart that says, "God, i'm not leaving this spot unless you're with me. God, you're my everything. how could i go without you? everything would be meaningless if you weren't there." the same way heaven wouldn't be the same if Jesus wasn't there. i've been leaving God behind and that's not what i want to do anymore.
i want to be like moses. a man who is marked by the presence of God. that when people see me, they see a man who just can't go on without Jesus. who can't take a step without knowing that his God is with him.
God, bring me back that place, Lord. where i would always seek Your face first. to look to where my help comes from. to be reminded of your strong and steadfast love and mercy always. bring me back to that dependence. to never want to take a step without You. my life looks so different without You, Lord. i do things just for myself or when i do things for others, it's because i feel like i should. but when You're with me, i do things because i feel Your heart. i see with Your eyes. i know Your compassion. give me more of You, Lord. i want more of You than the gifts that You have to give. give me more. set a fire down in my soul that i can't contain or control. i want more of You, God. let that be my prayer each and every day. each and every moment.