At the end of each day, do you wish you had spent more time with God? Not in a guilty way, but in the way that a lover just wants more time with and more of his or her beloved. Do you look forward to more time with God, the next day, when you lay your head on the pillow each night?
When you are at work, or dealing with the stuff of life that needs to get done, are you looking forward to being with God? Many of us are learning how to practice God's presence, when we are caught up in other, seemingly unspiritual activities, whether alone or with others. That is good, and I am among those. But I also long to get away and get into God's presence, which usually means alone.
You might be at a bustling workplace, a crowded school, or in a full airplane, high up in the sky; but you get this longing to be alone with God. Yes, you can practice his presence, there in the noise, among people.
But to get alone with him, is my heart's desire. The streams of water that I long for is the place of God's presence. I long for it, I anticipate it, I want time with God.
All of the noise of life is good. The conversations, the hearing of voices, and all the awareness of and the caring for others. It's good. We need each other and it is not good to be alone. The poet was right that no one is an island.
I want to run to God's presence. It is my center point. It is a place of reviving and renewal and recharging. To love you, I need to experience him loving me. To be Christlike, I need to experience Christ's presence. When I have been with him, it changes me all for the better, so I want to get with him as much as possible.
The presence of God is the place of immunity, as Francis Fragipane puts it. The deer is not thirsty, as its highest priority, but longs for the stream to have its scent lost from the predator. When we are in God's presence, the enemy cannot mess with us.
The enemy wants us discouraged and hopeless. He wants us to forget God, who God is for us, and all of his majesty and worthiness of praise. When we are in tune with that, our perspective changes, and the enemy does not want that.
So, the enemy hunts us and tries to intimidate us, mainly through deception and illusion. Slight of hand, smoke and mirrors, and threats. These are all his weapons designed to get up to give up hope, be discouraged, and loose faith. He wants us to forget God or believe that God is small or distant or disempowered.
This is why the heart of the believer, even the deeply discouraged believer, wants to find God, to find and be in God's presence. That's it. If you want to serve the Lord in any capacity, if you desire to grow and follow, to be Jesus disciple; then you are going to get hit by the enemy. He attacks Jesus followers, pure and simple.
Getting to and into God's presence is the way of escape. It is the way to survive and thrive.