This is a story of how God showed up quite unexpectedly.
My title is not original but for good reason. Every Day in His Presence is also the title of a daily devotional by Dr. Charles F. Stanley. I’ve never met him, but my father-in-law, who pastored a church in the Pacific Northwest, loaned Dr. Stanley his car once. That’s what you do when a pastor you’ve long admired is passing through your community and his vehicle breaks down.
I’ve admired Dr. Stanley for decades, too. I first read one of his books early in my marriage when I was visiting my in-laws and found it on the bookshelf in their guest room. His words resonated strongly with me. I became convinced that we’re kindred spirits—even if we’ve never met.
The back cover on the devotional from which I borrowed my title says, “In today’s chaotic world we all need, and often long for, time simply to stop to regroup our thoughts and connect with God. If we don’t, how are we to hear His voice and know His plan for our lives?”
My desire to lead others to an increased awareness of God’s tangible presence in the midst of their daily routines is why I write Mid-Week Miracle.
God is closer than your heartbeat.
He hears our thoughts, sees our struggles, and longs for us to invite him into our every-day challenges. My desire for us to truly grasp God’s proximity has weighed heavily on my prayer life, and I’ve been carrying this burden for a while. Not in a bad way. It’s just that this passion burning in my heart won’t let me go. So, I keep praying for God to show up, not only when we desperately need him, but also when we aren’t expecting him.
Well…. on April 25th God eased my burden big time by revealing himself when I wasn’t expecting him. He whispered something remarkable to me. But before I tell you what he said, let me back up.
Last Friday morning, I received a text from my friend Penny. She sent an image of a beautiful, hard-bound devotional and asked, “Do you have this book?”
“No,” I replied. “But I’ve read several of Charles Stanley’s books and I love them all.”
“I’ll send you this as a get well,” she texted back, referring to my continued recovery from hip surgery. “When I read each day, it’s like you talking.
Somehow Penny had recognized my kindred spirit, too.
Two days later, I was resting from the physical therapy exercises I’d just completed and had reclined to elevate my feet when I heard footsteps on my front porch. Curious that no one rang the bell, I limped to my front door and saw the Amazon Prime truck driving away. Surprised by a Sunday delivery, I wondered what might be in the little box on my porch.
I carried it back to my recliner, and before I even opened the box, my arms and the back of my neck tingled with goosebumps. I verbally acknowledged God’s tangible presence. “I know you’re here with me, God,” I said with anticipation. “What’s in this box?”
I pulled back the flaps, saw my gift from Penny, and tears suddenly spilled from my eyes. In that moment, God’s presence felt like a warm embrace, and I was reminded of my ongoing prayers for you and me to experience his touch.
“Oh, God,” I breathed. “Thank you for your presence. What do you want to say?”
I felt prompted to turn to the devotional reading for April 25th. That’s when God not only whispered something remarkable to me, but he also eased the weight of my burden.
The heading on the page for that day declared in big, bold letters:
The Bible verse printed just below was from Hebrews 7:25.
He is able to save forever those who draw near to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them. (NASB)
The devotion by Dr. Stanley began like this:
When you bear a great burden, you may feel isolated because it appears no one truly understands what you’re experiencing. But take heart, Jesus knows and is praying for you. In fact, even before your struggle begins, He’s interceding on your behalf.
Oh my! Jesus understands my burden to pray and is praying for me as I pray for you. Not only that, Jesus is interceding with me for you. He’s not only my intercessor, he’s yours too.
I sent Penny a text thanking her for the perfect get-well gift. She responded, “It was the Holy Spirit telling me to send it. In so many of those devotions, I could hear your voice. That’s why I knew I needed to give the book to you.”
I love how God works by using his people to encourage each other. Thanks to Penny, I have a tangible reminder that God not only hears my prayers, but he also hears the prayers of his beloved Son, who always lives to make intercession for us.
Let’s spend every day in his presence.