One of my best friends in life has Alzheimer’s. He is still with us by the grace of God. Though it pains me to see him sitting there in his shell of a body, I pray that he is not alone. Hopefully, the Holy Spirit is with him, comforting his soul. For all I know, his spirit might be already with God. It may be just his body that is still here with us, left behind for reasons that only God knows. Even though we do not understand why God allows such things to happen, we know He has His reasons. Just as I pray for my friend, I also pray for the wisdom to accept God’s divine will regardless of what I might not be able to understand. For this, I place my faith and trust the Almighty.
I mentioned my friend here because the title of this essay is a statement he and I would often use. We would acknowledge how amazing all things of God were but it should never surprise us when He does them. We should expect such incredible things from the Creator of the universe. My typical response to one of His many outpourings was always, WOW! It makes me feel like a kid being totally shocked by something they had just witnessed for the first time. Although we gladly accept what God allows when it delights us, we are not equally excited when things are not as delightful. It is the same God that watches over all that He accepts as His child. We have to learn to accept the bad along with the good. It rains the same on the just and the unjust.
In each life, some sadness will appear. Death and loss are unavoidable. However, knowing that you are under God's watch makes all the difference. As believers, we know that absent from the body means that your spirit is present with the Lord. Believing that as fact still does not take away the sting we feel in our hearts when we lose someone dear to us. Death means we will never see them again in this life. However, our faith lets us know that this is not our permanent home. When we depart we will somehow be reunited with our loved ones in the Kingdom of Heaven, the final resting place for all immortal souls that belong to God. That is great news! Fortunately, we do not have to place our trust in ourselves, but instead in God who made this promise.
Over the years I remember hearing a few of my friends comment about how amazing God was. When I heard them make that statement it sounded fake to me. This was because I could not see the vision they were seeing. Sure, in theory, God would be totally amazing and even further beyond spectacular, but if you cannot see the vision, it’s merely puffery. But when God allows you to sense Him in Spirit that is when it finally hits you like a ton of bricks square in the chest.
Back in my college days, I took certain drugs that made me hallucinate. I saw all sorts of crazy things through my diluted mind. That is the effect of drugs on the mind. The visions were not real, they were only hallucinations. Even with that stated… once you get a glimpse of God in your mind’s eye none of those acid trips would compare to how amazing God IS.
If you have ever visited one of the seven wonders of the ancient world you would probably go “ga-ga-gu-gu” by seeing just how spectacular they are. Take a look at the Grand Canyons or the Niagara Falls right here in our country… both would be mind-blowing. If those images are that spectacular imagine how much more spectacular the Maker of those things would be? Not only did God create all the natural wonders of the world, but He also created the entire world along with the heavens and the entire universe. Just to witness the beauty of nature alone will take your breath away if it catches you at the right moment. I love just gazing up into a moonlit sky allowing my mind to drift out into what might be out beyond what I can see. God made all that as well. So to say that God is totally amazing would be a huge understatement. He is even greater than the greatest everything!
This vision of God I speak about is not something that I could share with others that they might see the same vision. It is like you were going about your business and all of a sudden you thought you saw something out of the corner of your eye but when you turned to look nothing was there. I was just praying this morning because there are times when I get this feeling of wonderment that I cannot explain other than how special it made me feel. It’s like God was winking at me, but how can you say that to someone without them thinking I am crazy? Call me c-r-a-z-y! When I sense this I utter to God that I know this is Him winking at me just to acknowledge what I felt. I do this to encourage Him to do it again, but somehow I cannot control when or how it happens.
Practicing the Presence
I wrote about practicing the presence of God in another essay. This was from a tiny booklet that you can order online by Brother Lawrence. Essentially it entails training yourself to keep God’s presence near at all times so you are never far away from Him. The more you keep His presence near, the more familiar God becomes to you. Though it is difficult to always keep His presence in your conscious awareness, you might imagine how nice it would be if you could actually stay in that frame of mind for extended periods of time. When I do it there is a spiritual presence that I sense nearby. I personally feel that God delights in us trying to stay close to Him that way.
A great sense of this is when David prayed the 23rd Psalm. Verse four states, “Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff they comfort me.” Skipping to verse 6: “Surely your goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.” NIV. Read the entire chapter if you like it because it is a short one. There are times when I read the scriptures, they actually come alive and pierce through my heart. That is the Holy Spirit’s doing. He wants you to stay close to Him and know that He is your protector and provider. However, that does not always equate to receiving only the things that delight us. He is also there when there are needs, dangers, or even death because it is your immortal soul that He covers and always protects.
I am truly amazed at God but nothing in heaven or on earth would surprise me because I know it is all God. We are merely going through Him… that is if you belong to Him. If you want to get God’s attention, try keeping His presence near as often as possible. Yes, we have an amazing God who is worthy of all the praise, the glory, and our worship as often as humanly possible. I’d be surprised if He wasn’t standing right beside you at this very moment. Selah!