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Becoming Aware of God's Presence

Ann Spangler
Ann Spangler
2018 24 May

An image of vehicles rushing by on the street, the lights blurring.

How do you spell a shriek? I’m not sure, but I heard one last night just as my daughter opened the door leading from the kitchen to the front hallway. Recoiling in fright, Luci was standing frozen in the doorway.

After a moment of silence came gales of laughter. I recognized her voice mingled with that of a close friend who had apparently just walked through the front door. It seems that Luci had opened the hallway door at the precise moment her friend was approaching from the other side. The two stood wide-eyed, staring straight into each other’s faces. As one later remarked, it was a creepy experience.

That was last night.

This morning, I walked down from my attic office and into the kitchen. To my alarm, I realized I wasn’t the only one in the house. I spotted a garbage bag and a pile of dirt in the middle of the floor. Not the usual traces of a burglary in process. Suddenly I remembered that it was Friday, the day our cleaning lady comes to work her wonders.

What’s the point of sharing these domestic anecdotes? Simply to say that we don’t always register the presence of another even when they are nearby. And God is always nearby.

Can the Creator of the universe slip into the world unnoticed? And how could creatures he made fail to register his presence?

I don’t have an answer except to think about how “thick” we humans can be, how slow to recognize the presence of God in our lives. It causes me to wonder about what in my life desensitizes me to his presence. Here’s my short list: trouble, busyness, materialism, worry, and sin. Of course the biggest item on my list is the last. Sin has a way of dulling my spiritual senses, creating barriers in my relationship with God. But the real stealth bombers, the dangers most of us are least aware of, are materialism and busyness, because these can easily become a way of life for those who live in cultures that promote them. As we fill every moment with tasks and train every desire on acquiring material goods (a sin in itself), our spiritual sensibilities wither.

If it’s been awhile since you experienced God, ask him to increase your spiritual hunger. Pray that he will point out anything that may be an obstacle. Then consider engaging in one of the spiritual disciplines— solitude, silence, prayer, fasting, confession, giving, simplicity, or Bible study—as a way of opening your soul to a deeper awareness of his presence.