Knowing God's presence
WHEN I was walking down a busy sidewalk, a small boy leaped from a parked car and darted into the crowd. His mother, steps away, called his name. I expected him to keep running to evade her. Instead, he stopped and said in delight, ``I'm here, Mommy, I'm here!'' He spun around and held up his arms. At once he was caught in his mother's embrace. Not for a second had he been afraid of separation from his mother. As I continued on my way, I asked myself if I felt as certain of God's tender love and presence as this little boy had been certain of his mother's care. As a student of the Bible, I had come to think of God not only as Father but as Mother. There are many verses that point to the ever-present care so often associated with mothering. The Psalmist sang, referring to God, ``I will trust in the covert of thy wings.''1
Christ Jesus showed the fathering of God in a story about two brothers. The younger one was tenderly welcomed home by his father after he had lived recklessly and wasted his portion of his father's estate. The older brother, who had stayed home and worked hard, wanted no part in that welcome. He felt deprived. But his father said gently, ``Son, thou art ever with me, and all that I have is thine.''2
God's unfailing love embraces each of His children always. That's because each of us, in truth, is the very image of God, the spiritual likeness of divine Love. Are we conscious of His presence?
``Well, not in the midst of my job, I'm not,'' a relative said when I suggested to her that the consciousness of God's presence might take some of the tumult out of her life.
When a loved person is present -- a spouse or a close friend -- we are quite conscious of that individual's presence, no matter how busy we are. And through prayer we can be conscious of God's ever-present love and care. Although we can't see God materially, we can certainly feel the peace and joy that only divine Love can impart. We can feel something of the strength that comes from omnipotent Spirit and the calm, clear direction that infinite Mind alone can give us.
A young woman was struggling to understand how God, who is invisible to the material senses, could really be there and love her. She was sitting on the bed of one of her small daughters that night. The child was asleep. While she sat there, she stroked the child's hair. How much she loved her daughter! How sure her daughter could be of her care! Yet the sleeping child did not even know how close she was. ``I'm like my child,'' she thought. ``I don't see God here beside me. Yet surely He loves and cares for me just as I care for my child.'' It was so clear to her that she felt she could lift her arms to Him as though He were a loving Parent, which of course He is. A hymn says simply:
Quiet, Lord, my froward heart,
Make me gentle, pure, and mild, Upright, simple, free from art;
Make me as a little child....3
Out of the infinitude of His love, God is always pouring into our listening thought what we need. Mary Baker Eddy, who discovered and founded Christian Science, writes: ``Never ask for to-morrow: it is enough that divine Love is an ever-present help; and if you wait, never doubting, you will have all you need every moment. What a glorious inheritance is given to us through the understanding of omnipresent Love!''4
We need to cultivate a spiritual sense of God, who is Love. This means maintaining through prayer and purified living that mental quiet where we are conscious of the Father-Mother. Then we will not only discern God's presence; we will be better able to help others through our understanding of His care.
1Psalms 61:4. 2Luke 15:31. 3Christian Science Hymnal, No. 291. 4Miscellaneous Writings, p. 307.
You can find more articles like this one in the Christian Science Sentinel, a weekly magazine. DAILY BIBLE VERSE: Be still, and know that I am God: I will be exalted among the heathen, I will be exalted in the earth. Psalms 46:10