The presence of God is always with us, we cannot flee or escape from His presence even if we wanted to! Psalm 139v7. However, we sometimes are more aware of His presence than at other times.
I have been intensely aware of His presence when I have been alone and when I am with a company of God’s people. I have been aware of His presence in the quiet place and in very noisy praise. I have been aware of His presence when listening to the Bible being expounded and in worship. I have been aware of His presence in a church building and in the country being overwhelmed by the beauty of what God has made. I have been aware of His presence in an Anglican Church, a Baptist Church, a Methodist Church and in a New Church. In short, I (and I guess you) am aware of God’s presence in a great variety of ways.
I am also aware that temperamentally some of us more often experience the presence of God in one way more than another. This was brought home to me in discussions with numbers of people from different churches at the Catalyst Festival where it would seem people experienced the presence of God in different ways. Some had a very special experience of the presence of God through the ministry of Heidi Baker, others did not. Some had a special experience of the presence of God when Glen Scrivener expounded God’s word, others did not. For others the presence of God was experienced through spending time with church family over three days and experiencing close fellowship in a special way.
This is what I would expect and is surely to be applauded and encouraged. What causes a problem is when we exalt our experience of the presence of God over someone else’s or consider our experience of the presence of God to be inferior to someone else’s. This was in danger of becoming divisive.
As Heidi Baker said, there is an emergence of convergence. This included a convergence of different temperaments that are more likely to experience the presence of God in a variety of ways. Let us ensure we don’t allow divisiveness to creep in by unhelpfully exalting one experience over another, rather valuing all.
Written by Tony Thompson