Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Subjective Presence

It is hard enough to explain to someone why you believe in a God that cannot be seen or proven by science. So how do you explain his trait of omnipresence? If God cannot be seen, if his divine work in your life is a subjective experience, how can one explain or understand that God is everywhere at once; that god is literally with you? In The Pursuit of God by A.W. Tozer, the author tackles this very issue in chapter 5, "The Universal Presence".

Here in this space, I want to address the subjective experience mentioned above. Please come back next week as I attempt to talk about his omnipresence.

Sunday's lesson at church was about the wise and foolish builders and discussed in the context of marriage and family. We all have experiences with relationships built on shaky ground and of storms we were certain would crumble everything we've built, despite the best foundation. And we have also witnessed the aftermath of some storms in awe of what was still standing.

So I could only attribute it to the Holy Spirit when during the sermon my wife received a text from a friend who needed to talk. Not coincidentally, a major storm was flooding her marriage. This family began building upon the Solid Rock, but over time that foundation began to erode away. But this isn't about them.

My wife listened and gave her input, and after roughly 60 minutes and probably 10 times that many tears, she hung up. As she was describing the situation, the conversation and her response and input I was moved when in tears she exclaimed, "God is alive!" We can put our trust in that eternal truth. All of our other idols, philosophies, and rationalizations are fleeting and cannot be relied upon when the storms of life hit. If there is no faith in a God who is right there with us through it all, where else can we turn?

That is subjective. But I cannot deny my faith that God is with me, present through all my storms. I have no such confidence in self-help, good intentions, or well wishes. Does that prove God exists? Of course not, at least not in a way that I can convince you. But it is enough evidence for me.

This blog is part of a book club reading The Pursuit of God by A.W. Tozer. Please join the discussion here and at our hosts, Jason Stasyszen and Sarah Salter. Need a copy of the book? You can get it for free on Kindle.


Jason Stasyszen said...

Yeah, I definitely understand this, Frank. As Tozer said, it's not a matter of proximity or distance. It's a matter of experience or relationship. My wife can "be there" with me all the time, but that doesn't translate into intimacy. If we don't build and maintain our relationship, we'll falter. Proximity isn't enough, and subjective as it may be, I have been privileged to experience something different. Thanks Frank.

Sarah Salter said...

Frank, those "God is here" moments, when we actually FEEL His Presence... Those are such huge blessings! A friend of mine once said, "God is speaking to us every moment. We just don't always have the ears to hear." I've found that to be SO TRUE. Now, if I can just remember ALL of the time that God is WITH me, how revolutionary that would be!

Fatha Frank said...

@Jason, I think the comparison to marriage is a good one. Just like with prayer, we don't go days without talking to our spouse. And we don't love because we "have to". Just because we may see each other every day, I need to choose to communicate, to love, to be in her presence.

@Sarah, I agree he's always reaching out to us, even if it is just some words of encouragement to get us through each day. And so often his voice is drowned out by the world that distracts us. Oh Lord, open our ears that we may your voice!