Every Christian should learn how to enjoy the Presence of God. Nothing else in this life can replace the wonder and the pleasure of having a close relationship with God. Yet this kind of relationship (as with any relationship) can only develop when we spend much time with Him alone.
This presents us with a great challenge. In the world today, our lives have become extraordinarily busy. In fact a great many people have been conditioned to believe that unless they are almost continually occupied in some productive way, they are wasting time. There are just so many things demanding our time and attention – family, work, friends, events, sports, emails and (dare I say it, Facebook), and that is just the beginning. Some of us find it hard to make time for meals and sleep!
This is not the way God intended us to live. For a start He wanted us to work six days a week and have one rest day. Then all through the Bible we see the need to be still and know that He is God.
“He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High, shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty“. -Psalm 91:1 NKJV
“But his delight is in the law of the LORD, And in His law he meditates day and night“. -Psalm 1:2 NASB
We can’t do these things while we’re rushing around. Although some would argue that they are thinking on the Lord throughout their busy work day and even while driving to and from work, this is not the kind of ‘quality time’ our God is looking for. He wants our full and undivided attention, where we connect with Him in every part of our being. He wants to speak to us His Love and the secrets of His Kingdom. This is the place where His Peace and Joy can flow into your soul and bring deep rest and restoration.
This presents us with another problem, because most Christians’ idea of praying is to come into God’s presence with a never-ending stream of prayer requests, or else they are caught up in spiritual warfare and commanding authority over the evil one. Where is the time for God? Where is the time to delight and rest in His loving arms, to talk over with Him the joys and the cares of the day and to express your love and devotion to Him?
There is a quote I really like from a very old book called Springs in the Valley, which says this:
“We cannot go through life strong and fresh on constant express trains, with ten minutes for lunch: we must have quiet hours, secret places of the Most High, times of waiting upon the Lord, when we renew our strength and learn to mount up on wings as eagles, and then come back to run and not be weary and to walk and not faint”.
Here are some words God spoke to me personally in one of my times of waiting on Him:
When you seek Me earnestly I can speak deep into your spirit, but when you do not set aside the time to wait on Me, then I can only speak into your thoughts. These thoughts and plans will enable you to do My work, but the work won’t have a lot of depth.
Only My words spoken through the Holy Spirit into your spirit will bring forth fruit of eternal value, and this deep work of the Holy Spirit can only bear fruit in your own life and be imparted to the lives of others, as you set aside the things of time and action and wait upon Me in the stillness and quietness of the secret place.
Once I was running a training session with a large group of children’s workers from a very good church (yes, there are ‘good’ ones and ‘bad’ ones). I asked these workers to tell me what it meant to them to ‘wait upon the Lord’. It shocked me, but there was no one in the room who had any idea, at least no one who would speak up on the subject. This is a sad reflection of the Christian church in the western world today.
So how do we make the time? Many of you would say: “I just don’t have the time”, or “I can’t make the time”. We have many reasons or excuses why this is the case and usually they are valid reasons. When you have young children who constantly demand your time and attention, it is very hard to make time alone for yourself – or for God. If you are working two jobs, or long hours, or trying to run your own business successfully, it can be extremely hard to take time out for yourself, your family – or God.
Also, we must recognize the fact that God has made us unique. Therefore we approach Him or ‘wait on Him’ in different ways according to our own personality and makeup. However, this does not negate the need for each of us to spend time in His Presence.
There have been times in my life when my days were overloaded with busyness, and I felt very keenly the lack of time with the Lord. I talked to Him about it and told Him I would so much rather be serving Him and having time with Him, than being caught up with a secular job and all the demands of the day. I asked him to change my hours at work so I would have more time – and He did. Another time I had been serving in the church many hours a week unpaid and this had gone on for years (most church work is like this). I asked the Lord to make it possible for me to be compensated in some way, so that I could manage financially – and He did.
When my three older children were in school and my youngest was only two, looking after a husband and a large house and four children was a full-time job. I was also at the time overseeing the children’s ministry of our church, training workers for six after-school clubs our church was starting, running seminars for children’s workers in other churches in our State and running a non-profit bookroom for children’s workers throughout Australia, supplying postal orders of teaching materials.
How would I find the time to spend with my heavenly Father each day? I asked Him for help and soon found that my two year old would sleep for two hours every afternoon, and that was just the time I so badly needed.
Your heavenly Father understands the desire of your heart and He will make a way where there seemingly is no way. Just ask Him. Make your desire known to Him today and just see how He will work it out for your good.