A few days ago, we had a visitor to UCB, and as I walked into reception, a member of the team said to the guest: ‘This is David, do you know him?’
The guest said, ‘Yes, we are friends on Facebook.’
Later, I was thinking about this and realised that in many ways, for some of us this could be our main experience of God: we are ‘Facebook friends only.’ It might be that we have experienced Him in some way; we are acquaintances, but we are not in an intimate relationship with Him. We have lost our connection, and although we are still ‘friends’, He is not our confidant or the person we go to when we are in a storm.
As a young man, I used to cry out to God for a deeper relationship with Him, for an experience of His manifested presence. I wanted to know God in a deeper way. I wanted a visitation. It was frustrating waiting for that moment. But as I began to study the scriptures and seek God, I discovered something which blew my mind. You see, God’s manifested presence is already here!
In Genesis, we read the familiar story of Adam and Eve. God created these first humans to live daily in His presence in the garden of Eden. In the Hebrew language, ‘Eden’ refers to 3 words: spot, moment, presence. In other words, ‘The delightful spot on the earth where the manifested presence of God was an open door between heaven and earth.’
It is where God originally destined humans to exist. God created water for fish, air for birds, and for humans, He gave us His presence. Because it is in His presence that we discover true intimacy with God. It is the place where we are changed and where our situations, thinking, and the people around us are also transformed.
But as we know from Genesis, Lucifer did not like this. As a former angel himself, he too must have experienced the manifest presence and glory of God, but he wanted that glory for himself. He also knew just how powerful it was, and so he was on a mission to take it away from Adam and Eve. If he could somehow negotiate with them and persuade them (of their own will) to forsake the presence of God, he then knew that man would fail.
And we know that a decision made then by Adam and Eve had an impact on mankind for generations to come. But thank God that His original plan could not be thwarted or changed. Lucifer must have thought at the time ‘Ha! I have them now.’ But he was wrong.
You see, when Christ died, he took back the authority, dominion and power that Lucifer had taken for himself, and he restored you and me (and anyone else who accepts it) back into the manifest presence of God. Christ gave us our purpose back — our meaning for living — as members of the body of Christ and God’s family.
When I first started to discover this, things began to change in me.
Through God’s plan of redemption, I no longer needed to cry out for a special visitation. The Kingdom of God — His manifest presence — was already living in me. And because of that revelation, I can live in it daily.
It means that whatever storm I am walking through, I am never alone, and it also means that while in human terms, things may look impossible, in the presence of God, ALL things are possible.
When we choose to live in His presence daily in our workplaces, school, church and in every situation we walk into, we start to see things change. We are changed, and our situations and the people around us are changed too. And the reason is simple: God’s manifest presence is already here, and in God’s presence, anything is possible.