Presence usually refers to where someone is. We hear a lot, “Be present where you are.” “Live in the present.” Sometimes it refers to the energy of someone. “They have so much presence.” Put “the” in front of presence, and it goes to a whole other level. The Presence refers to the divine. I’ve often wondered what it felt like to be in Jesus’ presence. I can barely imagine it. Drawn by a love he exuded. But at times I get to feel it.
Have you ever felt the divine presence? This week I went to a Christmas concert–Kim Walker Smith and Big Daddy Weave. It was great and towards the end it was all worship–The Presence. I was still smiling when I woke up the next morning, lying there listening to the rain.
My husband hadn’t wanted to go to the concert, so I took my friend. Her dad died a few weeks ago and she just found out last week that her mom has leukemia. I didn’t know if she would want to go, but she did.
Big Daddy lead shared that his dad died last year on Christmas Day, and six months later they learned that their mom had cancer. I glanced at my friend who was crying. He shared his earliest memory of his dad–he was very little and couldn’t sleep and his dad was holding him, his head on his chest listening to him sing. Then he shared that the night before his dad died he was having trouble breathing and was very weak. The son was sitting in front of his dad who fell forward on his chest and his son held him and sang. He described the holy moment–touching for all of us, but especially for my friend.
On the drive home I said I thought God had set it up for her to go. She agreed and shared how good it had felt to know that someone else had just been through what she was going through.
Knowing we are not alone, that someone else understands, is presence. It often feels like God’s presence, and it is something we can give. Sharing our suffering connects us at a deep level of presence. It is vulnerability and what Jesus gave when he came here as a human. He could only take suffering away by taking it on himself. He takes the pain out of suffering with His presence. Knowing he understands our suffering makes ours bearable, and lets us feel The Presence. It’s a beautiful thing that takes away the sting of suffering and makes it a rich, expanding experience. I hope you get this present.