What Does It Mean To Be In His Presence?

Psa 16:11
11 … in thy presence is fulness of joy;
at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore.

There is a book entitled “Practicing the Presence of God”. It talks about being cognisant of God every day, during every moment. For me, it helped to imagine Jesus sitting in the passenger seat when I drove, or in front of me when I was worshipping at church.

However, I wonder if imagining Him with me truly brings me into His presence, or if that phrase means something else. The reason I ask is because Psalm 16:11 says there is joy and pleasure in His presence, and as a person who has experienced depression at various times in my life, that bothers me. Since I know His Word is always true, then I should experience joy more often, but I don’t. I am supposed to be joyful even through tribulation. So how do I reconcile these opposing facts?

I venture to say that I really don’t think I get in his presence very often – I’m too busy thinking or doing to ever really REST with him. I gather that reading his Word, writing devotions, going to church and singing songs isn’t the same thing as being I in his presence. So what exactly is it? I’d like to know, so I can have some of that joy more often!

I’ve read that a person may be physically nearby to us, but until we are thinking about them, they are not present TO us. Since we know God is omnipresent, perhaps that is closer to the answer we seek. I also read that both our minds and our spirits need to be involved. Presence also implies a relationship, according to some.

But for me, an active presence of another person requires that they somehow acknowledge my presence, and also communicate with me. Maybe that is where the trouble pops up. If I am the one doing 99% of the talking, all I am really aware of is myself. I believe being silent in His presence and not always speaking or thinking may be the trick.

Think about it. We sit down wanting to be in His presence, wanting not only to pour out our hearts to Him, but even more so, wanting to hear him speak to us – about those issues and also about things we hadn’t brought up. Imagine the joy of hearing our Creator speak to us. Wouldn’t that bring us joy, for the most part?

Imagine being in a room with your best friend while you were upset about something, and they wanted to help you and make you feel better – but you didn’t realize they were there and you continued to make yourself sick over the whole thing without the benefit of their offered comfort and aid. Maybe that is what we do to ourselves when God is nearby but not acknowledged by us – we cheat ourselves out of His presence that way.

I think that possibly it revolves around acknowledging God as a Person that is present and wanting to interact and communicate with us, even if it is just to calm us with His presence. If we want more joy, we must somehow stop “thinking to death” every situation and turn our eyes upon Jesus, look full in His wonderful face, so the things of earth will grow strangely dim in the light of His glory and grace. Maybe we also need to lay down our erroneous expectations of how He will respond to us, so we won’t be disappointed when it doesn’t occur that way. Or maybe we need to flip life on its head and remember that Jesus is life and the rest is details.

I want to truly try to be in his presence more often. Do you? What do you think of my theory? Please share your thoughts and experiences with me.

Penny Haynes