Reflections on sensing God's presence


(Andrew Shaw) #1

Continuing the discussion from Ask Drs. Vince and Jo Vitale (April 16-20, 2018):

Hi Robert,

I should preface this by saying I’m new to RZIM Connect and I’m not in full-time ministry and therefore maybe not the best qualified to offer comment. But, of all the questions posted in this thread, yours touched me the most.

Your desire to be close to God and sense Him is wonderful. In your own words you say “He is all I ever think about,” which to me expresses a sense of wonder and love that shows your own sense of Him already. Others use more expressive language such as that noted by you - “more real to me than the flesh on my bones” - but we all express our awe and wonder of God in different ways. I don’t think I’d use such words. I may be totally wrong, but the very words you use - “all I ever think about” - expresses that awe and wonder in a beautiful way already!

God is infinite, awesome and altogether wonderful. When you love someone, you think about them all the time. Jesus tells us to “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind” (Matt 22:37). I have an inkling that you’re doing that.

I tend to worship God more in my mind than in my heart and soul. A scripture I’m using to help me to be more contemplative and to listen for God’s still small voice are the middle verses of Psalm 130:

“I wait for the Lord, my whole being waits,
and in his word I put my hope.
I wait for the Lord
more than watchmen wait for the morning,
more than watchmen wait for the morning”

I’m not sure if my response is much help, but I want to encourage you in your walk with Christ. May God continue to bless you mate!

In Christ Jesus,

Andy


Ask Drs. Vince and Jo Vitale (April 16-20, 2018)
(Robert Fields) #2

Andrew,

Thank you for your words of encouragement. It means a lot. My challenge is sensing God implicitly instead of explicitly. I desire to sense Him explicitly. I’m sure that the “least of these” Jesus spoke of would like to sense my love for them explicitly rather than implicitly. I want to be faithful to a Person not merely a practice.

Those are my challenges and honestly I may not even understand what I’m asking for.

Thanks and God Bless!
Robert


(SeanO) #3

@rob1770 This question really resonates with me and I am very excited to see the answer Vince / Jo present in their podcast - I am curious to hear their response as well.

The Church I have been attending, which I love very much, has a strong emphasis on ‘sensing’ God. Although I am not sure if they use it in the same sense Ravi intended it - which is one reason I will be curious to hear Vince / Jo’s answer.

As they said, I do not want to give a quick response to a very complex question. But in terms of ‘sensing’ God’s guidance for ministry and His presence in our lives, the following books have been helpful for me. If you find any of them interesting, perhaps you would find them helpful as well.

The only thought I will add of my own is that I think that for some of us it requires more effort to learn to engage our emotions in the process - to find an avenue (art, music, journaling, reading) to help us connect our head to our hearts so that we ‘sense’ God on an emotional level. I think that comes easier for some than others.


(Robert Fields) #4

Sean O,

Thanks for your response. I’m looking forward to how they tackle this topic as well.

You also sparked a question within my own heart regarding my emotions. Because I’ve lived most of my life in survival mode , emotionally, I never learned to let go and allow myself to feel truly deep things. I can love and exhibit passion in life but I’m very guarded about emotional matters. It seems that if don’t sustain a certain level of emotional detachment, I would not be able to maintain control of my feelings or responses. That never goes well in sharing the gospel in hostile circumstances.

Does that make sense?

Thanks and God Bless!

Robert


(SeanO) #5

@rob1770, I think that makes a lot of sense. I had a friend who had a traumatic childhood and he always struggled to feel a relational connection to God because he had locked off his emotions as a defense mechanism.

I think you made a very good point about being in “control of” our feelings and responses. When I read the Psalms, I see a passionate man of God wrestling his feelings back into a place of praise and love for God even in very difficult circumstances and the apostle Paul told us to “take every thought captive” to Christ.

In my opinion, we should learn to train our emotions by the power of God’s Spirit, the truth of His Word and consistently crucifying the flesh. You gave the example of witnessing in hostile circumstances. In that case, I really like how my seminary professor described how we should approach life - with “thick skin and a soft heart”.

I think the Christian goal in life is not simply to maintain control of our feelings, but to mold them into a posture of humility and love towards the people we encounter. Our ‘thick skin’ allows us to not react negatively when others prod us, but our soft heart also allows us to express love for them at the very same time - like Jesus praying for His enemies upon the cross.

Blessings indeed!