"One thing I desire and one thing only: to dwell in the presence of God all the days of my life." Psalm 27:4
If we could hit the bull's eye of our heart's desire, what would be in the center of our longing? The one thing I desire, the psalmist writes, one thing only. I confess to wanting many things: loving relationships, healthy families, some amount of financial wherewithal are all in the mix.
What do we seek, I mean really seek? Perhaps this is easier to answer than we might think. That would be the thing that captures our imagination... that occupies our time... the thing upon which we choose to spend our time, our most precious commodity. To simplify it further, we can probably take out our calendar and bank statement and pretty much have an answer. Time is a medium of exchange. We give our time in exchange for something. Are we getting anything of value in return? Will we get to the end of a season of life and feel deceived, cheated out of what might have been? I never want to live in the land of 'if only'.
Years ago I began a quest for knowing and loving God, not just knowing about God. Yes, I understand that the God of the universe is beyond comprehension and unknowable fully, but I wanted to be stretched and grow in my understanding. I began to read and pray intentionally about that word 'presence' of God. I wanted to know more.
I recall that Practicing the Presence of God, collected writings of Brother Lawrence, was a focus of a small group of women in the early 90's where we began to lovingly sift through reflections on offering our best to the glory of God in the most mundane tasks of a day. Many books and discussions followed, laced with weekly prayer support for one another. Weeks turned into years (funny how that happens), and I am continuing to learn more about the power of the presence of God. Like an eager schoolgirl at the foot of the Teacher, I am becoming increasingly aware of the mystery of the Presence of God. I only know now there is oh, so much more I long to know. Not merely knowledge the way we chalk it up and check it off in the world - that doesn't do it justice. No, rather, understanding....appropriating into the heart....making such an awareness central to our decision-making would be a better expression.
Do not let the tyranny of the urgent in our daily lives crowd out the important. We must intentionally seek after something of value that we want to pursue, for it will not just happen.
May God help us on our quest to know what the psalmist knew - that there is great value being in the Presence of God at all times.
Lord Jesus, Give me the desire for You at the center of my life. By the power of your Spirit uphold me, teach me, correct me, inspire me....draw me into Your loving Presence. Amen
"For it is God...who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God." 2 Corinthians 4:6