This morning, as with every morning, I was looking for the mountain as I drove home from taking the kids to school. It's still cloudy and I haven't seen it in almost a week, but today God used it to illustrate something. This mountain is ALWAYS there. We may not be able to see it every day, but it is there...no doubt about it. It can't be moved, it can't be removed, it can't even really be hidden from us (in other words, you can't just throw something over it to hide it...it's too big). The clouds roll in and we can't see it, but it's there. Every single day I want to see it. I literally look for it when I'm out. If I can't see it, I'm disappointed. Sometimes it seems so close I feel as though I can just walk to it from where I live. Of course, that would be impossible, but it feels that way on days like the day that picture was taken. This picture was taken standing on that same mountain. We couldn't see it driving there, but once we arrived we could walk on it, play in the snow on it...experience the beauty of it. It could not be seen from far away that day, but it was there.
The same is true of God. Sometimes we don't feel His presence and it causes us to wonder if He truly is there. We search for it in so many different ways. Some go to His Word (the bible) or pray until they reconnect with God, while others wander aimlessly. They look for Him in all the wrong places. Or, they look for something to fill the emptiness they feel when disconnected from him.
The same is true of the presence of God as is that mountain. He is there. We may not see Him, we may feel as though He is a million miles away when we once felt He was so close, we may get disappointed because of these feelings and just give up on the journey to find Him...but HE IS ALWAYS THERE. Trusting that what He said is true will get us through those moments. He promises us that He will never leave us or forsake us.
There are moments in our lives when we might not feel His presence, but if we have a personal relationship with the Lord then He is with us. The same faith it took to believe in Him and ask Him to come into our life is sometimes needed to get us through the moments when we feel far from God. In those moments, ask yourself - what has changed in my life? Am I walking with the Lord like I once was? Am I seeking to be close to Him? It's our responsibility to maintain a close walk with the Lord. It's much like friendship - if you never bother to keep in touch, that relationship will seem almost nonexistent. The only difference with the Lord is, He's still there. Our friends who we never spend time with may leave us, but He doesn't; He waits for us to return to Him. His presence is with us, and He longs to be visible to us. He doesn't want to appear far off. He wants us to walk with Him, spend time with Him...experience the beauty of being with Him.
Sometimes I think we're doing all the right things...we're spending time with Him and honestly seeking His face, we're seeking to do His will, we're walking down the right path and have a heart bent toward the things of God, our hearts are clean... Maybe we don't feel Him near because He wants us to continue to draw close and trust Him anyway. A time of testing perhaps. God knows our hearts. If we are clinging to Him with everything we have, He will be faithful to allow us to feel His presence in His time. Don't allow this time of testing to cloud your thinking or discourage you. He is there!
The presence of God in our lives is a powerful, miraculous thing! And just like I know that mountain is there even when I can't see it, I believe the same about God. That mountain is beautiful and fascinating, but NOTHING compares to the greatness of knowing Jesus Christ and experiencing the fullness of the presence of God in my life. Being in His presence is a true mountain top experience! Knowing that He is walking this life with me, and cares about what goes on in my life makes all the difference in the world to me. Sensing His presence is important, but knowing He is there even when I don't feel like it is vital!
Lord, thank you for your presence. Thank you for the beauty I see all around me...but, most of all, thank you for the beauty that you bring to this life. There is nothing that compares to the greatness of knowing you and experiencing your love and forgiveness. Thank you for this reminder today - that You are with us and that, though we may not see you, You are right here.