Summary: God desires that we experience Him always and that we draw contentment, strength, and total satisfaction from our relationship with Him at all times.
The Power of God’s Presence*
God desires that we experience Him always and that we draw contentment, strength, and total satisfaction from our relationship with Him at all times.
1. It is especially important, that we experience God’s presence in the stormy times of our lives, the times when we are keenly aware of our needs or neediness. Such times come for us all.
2. Every person’s life is marked by storms of one kind or another. The reality for each of us is that we are in a storm, have just emerged from a storm, or are about to enter a storm. We need comfort from God’s presence in the darkness, and in the storms.
Elihu, in the Book of Job, asked, "Where is God who giveth songs in the night?"
David in the 42nd Psalm, answered, "In the night His songs shall be with me."
(Rom. 8:35, 37-39)
Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Everyone will pass through dark valleys sooner or later.
All will become ill. Some will become permanently ill. It is an illusion that this side of heaven all diseases will be wiped out.
For all of us there will be periods of suffering, bereavement, discouragement, danger and difficulty.
1. There are those who give up their fidelity to God because they do not believe God is fair. They ask, "What have I done to deserve this?" "Why are children born retarded or born dead?" "Why is there cancer?" "Why me?"
2. How will we answer these and similar questions? How will we learn to sing songs at night?
a. By having faith in the sovereignty of God.
b. The world is not being ruled by a chance but by a God who is in control.
c. Even a sparrow cannot fall without His notice. So, He cares about us. Nothing can happen that does not concern God.
Our lives will become stronger and our spirituality deeper when we learn to sing at midnight.
1. The Apostle John sang songs of joy and praise while in exile on the island of Patmos.
2. At midnight, David arose to give thanks to God (Ps. 119:62).
3. Paul said, "When I am weak, then I am strong" (2 Cor. 12:10).
A. The importance of sensing the presence of God
A man once said,
"I can face anything but the future--and certain parts of the past and present!"
a. None of us can face the past unless we know we are forgiven by the grace of God.
b. None of us can face the present unless we know we are strengthened by the presence of God.
c. None of us can face the future unless we are certain of the love of God.
A. Contentment is the ability to stand constantly and consciously in the presence of God so that he can transform any task into something meaningful.
Awareness of His Presence
In learning to deal with life’s storms, we must turn to Jesus and discover the provision that He makes for us when storms strike us.
The cause of the storm is not the primary issue.
What is your concern in the midst of a storm?
How can you survive the storm?
How can you live through the situation or circumstance?
How can you emerge from the storm?
God’s Word assures us that Jesus provides answers to these critical questions. One example of the way Jesus deals with those who are experiencing a storm is found in Matthew 14:22-34.
Jesus had just finished a full day of tremendous ministry, preaching, teaching, and healing a great multitude of people who followed Him out into a desolate area. Before sending the people away, Jesus had multiplied five loaves and two fish to feed the hungry crowd of five thousand men and their families. Then, no doubt in exhaustion, Jesus
made His disciples get into the boat and go before Him to the other side, while He sent the multitudes away. And when He had sent the multitudes away, He went up on the mountain by Himself to pray. Now when evening came, He was alone there. But the boat was now in the middle of the sea, tossed by the waves, for the wind was contrary. (Matt. 14:22-24)
In the fourth watch of the night, sometime between three and six o’clock in the early morning, Jesus went to His disciples who were struggling in the storm; He walked on the sea to them. When the disciples saw Him walking on the sea, they cried out in their fear, "It is a ghost!" Here is how Matthew told the rest of this story: