Sunday, March 25, 2018

Sunday Afternoon Tea - To Feel God's Presence


There have been a few times in my life when it seemed the veil between Heaven and Earth lifted and I could feel the presence of God far more than usual.  The odd thing is, they were in the strangest of places.

One instance occurred when I was driving from Iowa to my mom's house on Good Friday.  We would spend a day with my mother and step-father and then travel to my husband's hometown for Easter Sunday.

I had been feeling unsettled and depressed since moving to Iowa.  It can be hard moving to an area that doesn't get a lot of new people and we had moved there for my husband's job when Christopher was only ten days old.  It was a time of great change in our lives and I felt... untethered.

As I drove on an Illinois Interstate that day, I was able to pick up the Chicago Moody station on the car radio and listened for awhile to a live program coming from Israel.  They were talking about the events of Holy Week and the many Christians there to celebrate Easter.  I don't know what happened but it was as if God opened my spiritual eyes to His Kingdom.

Gone were the feelings of intense loneliness experienced due to our move, instead there was a knowledge that God's Kingdom already existed among the millions of believers on this unrestored planet.  I was baptized in His joy while listening to that Christian radio broadcast.

I could sense that I was not alone and not only did I have the Holy Spirit within but there was a connection to the Body of Christ around the world. It is hard to put the feelings that washed over me driving through the farm lands of Illinois that day.  Perhaps the feeling that Love and Grace were being rained down from Heaven comes close.  Kind of...

The Celtic Christians wrote about the idea of thin places, where the line dividing Heaven and Earth is thinner than usual.  I would cast the idea aside as something New Age, belonging on an Oprah show rather than in the Church if I hadn't first experienced something that Good Friday well over twenty years ago.

I have heard and read of certain places where people feel it easier to rest, read the Bible, and pray.  Sometimes it has been a place such as a monastery, while others talk about a mountain or a forest, and yet others go to the desert.  They are usually places of peace and quiet and prayer where our mind can grow quiet and our soul can be healed.

While I would love to travel to places known for creating peace of soul, I'm quite happy that we can create our own "thin places".  Perhaps instead we should call them times when it is easier for us to feel God's Presence?  I have found ways that make that possible in my own days.

To me, great music is central to creating a place that brings God close.  When I am working on the computer, I either listen to downloaded music, pop a favorite CD in the player, or I listen to favorite music on YouTube.  There are many options.

Our car radio is always set to either K-Love or Moody, usually K-Love for the music.  While driving busy streets in town does not provide the luxury of not paying as much attention to driving as an Interstate going through farm lands... playing good music does provide an atmosphere of worship and grace. 

Sometimes when I am alone and turn to the Moody station, there is great preaching that feeds the soul.  One of the benefits of having the family room TV hooked up to Direct TV (we live out of cable range), is the number of Christian stations.  NRB Channel is my favorite.

No... I don't listen to Christian music exclusively and neither do I watch only Christian TV.  There are times when my soul needs fed with God rejoicing music and words.  (However, I have received God's Truth from secular movies and television and I must admit that there are many good secular songs on my playlist.)

I now can get away to a room of my own to read and pray but there were decades when the only special place I could call my own was a corner of the sofa or a favorite chair.  They meant no less to me at the time than an entire room does now.  As long as there was space on a side table for my Bible, a favorite book, and a beverage... it was good.

The thing is... to experience God's presence such as those who go to special places... we need to set aside time to give Him our full attention.  As Christians, we do not have to travel to a certain place to talk to God... He is already present.  He is just waiting on you and me to desire Him enough to set aside time to meet with Him.

I think if there is one special time of the year that I feel God's presence the most, it is Spring.  Especially Spring and Easter.  There is something about rebirth that makes me think of the Resurrection and how all will be made new someday. 

This will be a good week to listen to music that praises God, read the account of Holy Week in the Word, and give Him our full attention as we celebrate what Jesus did and what it means for our Eternity.

He Paid a Debt He Did Not Owe
He paid a debt He did not owe
I owed a debt I could not pay
I needed someone to wash my sins away
And now I sing a brand new song
Amazing Grace
Christ Jesus paid a debt that I could never pay

My debt He paid upon the cross
He cleansed my soul from all its dross
I tho't that no one could all my sins erase
But now I sing a brand new song
Amazing Grace
Christ Jesus paid a debt that I could never pay

O such great pain my Lord endured
When He my sinful soul secured
I should have died there but Jesus took my place
So now I sing a brand new song
Amazing Grace
Christ Jesus paid a debt that I could never pay

He didn't give to me a loan
He gave Himself now He's my own
He's gone to Heaven to make for me a place
And now I sing a brand new song
Amazing Grace
Christ Jesus paid a debt that I could never pay

Written by: Ellis J. Crum

5 comments:

The Journey said...

I believe that there are times we do feel God's spirit more, for whatever reason, thin places make since. I believe you feel those prayers others are praying for you in deffinite way, God applies them to our account for what we need.

Anonymous said...

Good word!! My most favorite time of the day is my morning quiet time with God. I have a spot in a spare bedroom where I play worship music and read a couple devotionals and my Bible. He often speaks to me through His Word and that’s when I feel His presence. Thanks for sharing! Praying healing for your eyesight!
Hugs and Blessings,
Laura C.(WA)

Sandi said...

"I could sense that I was not alone and not only did I have the Holy Spirit within but there was a connection to the Body of Christ around the world. It is hard to put the feelings that washed over me driving through the farm lands of Illinois that day."


'Thin places' makes me think of New Age too. A visiting speaker at my church called it opening portals. Set my internal alarm bells off.

But I have felt like this! I would just call it the presence of the Lord. He is everywhere and doesn't need a special geographic physical opening. He is the opening!



Linda Born said...

How amazing that I found this post on a day that I am rereading Emily of New Moon by L.M. Montgomery, and had just read this passage, "...It had always seemed to Emily...that she was very, very near to a world of wonderful beauty. Between it and herself hung only a thin curtain...sometimes, just for a moment...it was as if she caught a glimpse of the enchanting realm beyond..." After reading this I had spent time thinking about occasions when the veil has lifted just a bit for me, sometimes during praise music, sometimes in prayer, sometimes via beauty in nature, times when I have felt a special awareness of God's presence. And then I found this post! Thank you for sharing and affirming our "connection to the Body of Christ around the world."

Deanna Rabe said...

Isn’t it amazing how God wants us to know Him and gives so much of
Himself to us in music, His word, books, and preaching?! I’m so grateful and thankful!

Meeting believers through blogging Is, for me, one of these connections that makes me feel a bit of what eternity will be like!