Last Sunday I spent the afternoon with friends. This morning as I thought back to our time together what remained with me was not so much the reason we met – but the fact that simply in being together we encouraged, strengthened, refreshed and blessed one another. To be in the presence of a friend or friends, where there is no agenda, no need to impress and no tension or negativity is indeed a place I love to be.
And yet such occasions are rare. I have been in small gatherings or meetings where I have experienced the blessing of being in the presence of God with his children, my brothers and sisters – only to see someone continually looking at their watch – waiting for the meeting proper to start. And when it did the blessing of presence disappeared, as we sometimes say in Scotland – like snaw aff a dyke.
For that self same reason most church meetings fail to bring the blessing of presence by dint of the fact that the “programme” must be followed at all cost.
There is a saying from a past generation not often heard now – “His presence makes the feast”. And that is so true! No meeting, no programme, no worship event, no prayer meeting is worthwhile if it is not graced by His presence!
It is the presence of God that brings transformation, brings hope, brings healing, brings renewal, brings life and brings true joy. King David could say –
“In Your presence is fullness of joy.”
But what is true of The Father in undoubtedly also true of his children. When Paul was languishing in prison his spirit was so lifted by a simple visit from Onesiphorus. He later wrote –
“The Lord grant mercy to the household of Onesiphorus, for he often refreshed me, and was not ashamed of my chain; but when he arrived in Rome, he sought me out very zealously and found me.”
2 Timothy 1:16&17
I wonder this week if we can find someone who may be refreshed and blessed if we were simply to pay them a visit. Never underestimate the power of presence.