Two weeks ago I attended a Wednesday night bible study at my church and a question appeared on the screen my pastor uses to display the study information he prepares for us on his laptop. The question was very simple: “Do I desire the blessings of God more than the presence of God, himself?” Just before I left to spend eight days in Belize on a mission trip, the first of my life, I prayed God would open up my heart and mind to whatever he wanted me to see, hear or learn. From that time forward it seems as though I have sensed his presence more than ever before.
The next day I wrote this question down on an index card and have kept it at my computer at home so I am always reminded to seek his presence more than his blessings. I don’t make it a daily task to put a status on Facebook, because I know people have so much show up they just cannot hardly seperate the clutter from the truh, but this particular question just seemd to beg to be shared. So I did. You see I made a decision to only post things that honor God and point people toward him. If you have read or click on down my previous blog posts you will see one titles “Choosing Your Voice”. In it I explain why I write the way I do.
On Monday I logged into Facebook and found a most present surpirse. There was a message from Kerri (not her real name, you will see why), a friend from college. She had read the post about blessings and presence and sent me this:
On the topic of blessings…I thought about your question quite often over the past week or so. Presence of God or just the blessings? I think I would have answered this very differently a year ago. I felt so far from God for the two years after my dad died, felt estranged from church, questioned other Christians sincerity, you name it. Something changed in June when we finally found a church at 1st Pres. here in JC. I was able to let God back in and I can truly say that nothing compared to the presence of God in me.
Just that is the biggest blessing and feeling Him in my life everyday lets me see things as blessings that I might (probably wouldn’t have) not before.The biggest blessing this last few months has been being diagnosed with Stage 0 breast cancer. If I hadn’t felt God back in my life in the months before diagnosis, I can’t imagine how I would have dealt with it. I have been able to see the love and compassion from my family, friends, and acquaintances that have blessed me in ways that “things” never would. It has brought me closer to some family and transformed relationships (like with my sister in law) that I never saw happening.
I am finishing radiation this week and am cancer free. It has taken me a few months to rejoice in the fact that I will be considered “cured”. Why? At first I was trying to fathom why I would be so different than others who have had cancer and not been so lucky (in your family, in mine, in so many others) and that I didn’t deserve that honor, so was it really true? Then it finally hit me that this is God’s plan, and I may not know everything he has planned for me, but I need to quit questioning it and rejoice in it.
And then last week I found out that I am being laid off from my job I love so much. Budget cut backs til the next fiscal year, and no promises even then. And I was able to think, “Ok, God has a plan. I just need to be still and wait and see what it is.” Just the ability to do this is a blessing, and without God’s presence it wouldn’t exist.
So I guess my answer is that there are no true blessings without God’s presence, and that His presence is the ultimate blessing in our lives. I am so thankful I am able to feel that on a daily basis because it makes all the difference.
Sorry about the essay, but your question just spoke to me and I wanted to know that the things you write on FB and how you show God in your life makes me glad that you are still my friend.
What a powerful answer to my prayer to use my writing as a positive influence in the world for God. Now understand I take credit for nothing here. I did not come up with that statement, I did not make any difference in Kerri’s life with what I posted. All I did was use a platform I had to be true to God and share something that could bless another. However, I asked Kerri if I could use this in a post to show you how even a simple question in a Facebook status can touch someone else’s life and give them pause for thought.
I am so glad to know that Kerri’s walk is stronger than it has been in a long time. We discussed how we wanted this interaction to be a witness to others and I asked if she minded me sharing it through a post. She feels similar to me about doing whatever possible to share God’s love, blessing and hope with others. Kerri finished her last treatment on Friday January 25th. It is my sincere prayer and hope it is the last time she ever has to think of cancer in her life.
So blessings or presence. Which do you seek most? Personally I agree with Kerri that without God’s presence the blessings are non-existent. Yes, God is always present. We just choose either to not acknowledge the fact or fail to seek him with an open heart. It is my desire to become so conscious of Him that I never am without His presence in my life.