You will show me the way of life, granting me the joy of your presence and the pleasures of living with you forever.
“My heart has heard you say “Come and talk with me.” And my heart responds, “Lord, I am coming.”
Psalm 27: 8
God is always present with us, whether our attention is on Him or not. But sometimes, we want to give Him our attention and receive His in return. And we do this through prayer.
When I enter God’s presence, I know that He is delighted to see me—but it wasn’t always that way. For so long, my joy in sitting with Him was dependent on how I saw Him.
For most of my young life, I felt like God’s goal was to point out my imperfections, paying attention only to my flaws to make sure that I knew I needed to change. So you can understand why I wasn’t very inclined to visit His presence—I walked away feeling worse about myself!
The truth was that I had identity issues. His identity and my identity.
And these identity issues affected my experience of His presence and my desire to be there.
How we see God and how we see ourselves are delicately intertwined. Often, we assign our own human emotions and experiences to God, like “I am irritated with me, so God must be, too,” rather than believing the truth about Him and us from His Word.
Here are a few truths to keep in mind as you establish your vision of God:
He looks at our hearts. (1 Sam 16:7) Not one to attach to our deeds, He looks at our heart behind them (reference the entire story of David!). If our heart is for Him and we desire to be led by His Holy Spirit, He is utterly delighted with us!
He values hospitality. (Lev 33-34) Whether we show up once every 10 minutes or once every 10 years, He is overjoyed every time. Every time. He wants a relationship with us!
There is no condemnation in Christ. (Romans 8:1) Although we may have heard them from a human parent, He will never utter the words “I told you so” or “You should have known better.” If you share with Him a failure, He will love you through it, and His Holy Spirit will remind you (John 14:26) of who you are, Whose you are, and how dearly loved you are. (Psalm 139)
When you have a quiet moment, imagine yourself entering God’s presence–this can take place anywhere you picture–on a beach, in a garden, in your home. Notice His reaction when you arrive. What is He like? How does He see you? If the picture you have of Him isn’t dripping in goodness, patience, kindness, grace, and unconditional love for His amazing child whom He created, you may want to consider revisiting your understanding of both His and your identity.