Last month, I took my grandson Aidan to Washington, D.C. for a few days. I couldn’t wait to get to the National Air and Space Museum so I could show him the groundbreaking spaceships of history and of my childhood.
When we came to Friendship 7, I was taken aback. Right there, 20 feet away was the very capsule John Glenn flew into orbit and back to Earth. When I was 12-years-old, the launch, the pictures from space, and the splashdown in the ocean less than 5 hours later electrified me. And now, here I was in the presence of the real thing!
But that wasn’t the only powerful moment of presence on our trip.
Just traveling with this 11-year-old shifted our relationship into a higher gear. When we got back, the change was obvious to his parents. “What happened?” “What did you do?” “What did you say that brought you two so much closer?” The honest answer was nothing. We were just in each other’s presence for most of four days.
Without words being spoken, presence brings comfort. Raises trust. Lowers anxiety. Some say love is spelled T-I-M-E. If the time is focused, relaxed, emotionally available, I agree. But if deadlines and distractions dominate it. Not so much. Often our smartphones (and our texting, emailing, gaming, and searching), make that time feel more like apathy than presence.
Almost every day, the popular devotional Jesus Calling speaks of God’s presence. Presence is even capitalized, like a name. Emmanuel . . . “God with us.”
I believe God is with us. But He rarely butts in. He watches and waits . . . waits for us to turn our attention back His way. Just what you’d expect from a Perfect Father.
Don’t underestimate the power of presence. Especially His! Slow down today. ‘See’ every person who comes into your presence. Take time to engage and let the love of Jesus flow through you to them. And in the places you go and the tasks you do, look for every chance to experience His presence.
Prayer: “O my God, since thou art with me, and I must now, in obedience to thy commands, apply my mind to these outward things, I beseech thee to grant me the grace to continue in thy presence; and to this end do thou prosper me with thy assistance, receive all my works, and possess all my affections.” – Brother Lawrence