No, that wasn’t a typographical error. I suppose it might even seem as though I misspelled “presence” for what may have seemed like an intro to a Brother Lawrence book. But no.
Tonight I’m feeling like I’m standing in the presents of God. Maybe even buried in the presents of God — for He is and has been ever faithful and abundantly gracious to me — to my husband — to our family. And not only to me, to us or to ours alone, but to all of us. Exceedingly and abundantly gracious.
I smiled at the error of standing in God’s presents last week when Amelia, drawing what she was hearing during our morning family breakfast and Bible study time, shared her picture with the family. She drew a large stack of presents –packages, neatly wrapped and tied with ribbons and bows — presents stacked high in a heaping pile. And beside the pile was a man standing in God’s presents. Wes asked Amelia to describe her picture and she happily and boldly shared that Moses and Aaron were standing in the presents of God! Inside I laughed at the innocence of the drawing… the lack of understanding and knowledge of the presence of God. I smiled at her sweet delight at how wonderful it must have been for Moses. Indeed it must have been!
But the more the days passed, the more I began to realize that I am, in reality, standing in the presents of God. Just today, I was profoundly aware of the freedom to read God’s Word, the beautiful children seated at the table reading their own copies of the Bible and the meal we shared together was plenty. I thought of the delicious, cold filtered water that I freely drink, the lights I turn on in every room of our home and the clothing I couldn’t quickly decide which dress to wear, the buckets full of grain and oats and assorted other foods, cabinets full of choices, a refrigerator full of lots of different foods to make into meals for this family… and on and on the presents were piled high all around me.
And then the floor that needed to be mopped because there was dirt on it but it is not made of dirt. And our windows close and curtains hang there just to look pretty and serve no other purpose. The school books, the herbs and vitamins, the fruit and the shoes — plenty for each child. Coats – coats for work and for play, for dress and for casual. Coats. Presents of God.
Timothy phoned from Ghana, West Africa… hot and tired, achy and sore from long, hot days of work in the sun. Still cheerful, I marvel, with none of these things. Presents of God. As I type this tonight in my bright little room, a candle on my desk and a cup of delicious tea beside me, Kathryn is on a plane traveling to London and then on to Jinja, Uganda. 7000 miles away, tomorrow she will walk in red dirt to see little children she loves. And it will be worth every moment, every mile. She will have no running water and intermittent electricity — no so-called luxuries. She will be joyful – indeed- and yet will have none of these things. Presents of God.
As I practice the awareness of the presence of God, I am humbly mindful of the presents of God and His merciful kindness and lavish provision on our behalf – and I haven’t even touched on the greatest of all gifts — the gift of salvation. As I stand in the presents of God, I pray I do not neglect gratitude nor take for granted the Giver of these gifts — and as I lie down to sleep I will be humbly standing in awe of the presence and presents of God.
[edited to correct that it was Amelia’s drawing; 2-26]