There are times in our faith lives when we experience keenly the presence of God. Here are seven signs that God is so incredibly close as to be real in our presence:
- God is moving in every dimension – the times when we know that every situation and event is God-ordered and God-directed, when we know which way to go, to the right and to the left, life is a symphony. These times God’s presence assures us beyond doubt and evermore that God is really real!
- God is felt in the quiet crucible of your personal, private suffering – this is usually, in my personal experience a cross-and-resurrection experience. One day we’re experiencing the pit of existence to the point where we may seriously question if life is even worth it and the next day we’re lifted out by some supernatural intervention, sometimes or usually as a result of our willingness to trust God afresh.
- God’s Word comes alive – hardly more surreal is that moment when the verses of the Psalms come true in a God-orchestrated lament, even as we open our Bible or flick through and land at the exact spot that God has predestined us to arrive at. It’s uncanny when this happens again and again and again, and especially when we arrive at a verse or passage we’d read a thousand times before, but suddenly, now, with brand new meaning.
- God arranges circumstances in only a way God could – well, you know how they say things happen in threes…? When this happens, God reminds us of divine presence when a weird set of circumstances align in a way only God could have done it. We know God has done it because the circumstances were arranged in a very personally meaningful way — like, only God could have known. When this happens we’re reminded how much God knows us even more than we can know ourselves.
- God speaks a Word in due season, heard audibly or intelligible to be written – this is how we know that God speaks other-than in the Bible, for God’s presence cannot be contained to the canon of scripture. We know this Word is for us personally because of the way and timing of its coming. This Word can be a solitary word or theme, it could be a phrase, and it can even be a bunch of connected words. So many of us have carried these Words with us, and many of them over the course of our lives, as God’s Spirit directed our path. We knew it was God because we followed these paths and grew.
- God intercedes through our worship – whether it’s experiencing baptism in the Spirit, or we’re swept up into heaven when worshipping, or we encounter something else that is so incredible it can only be God, we see how God comes into our experience in ways that are powerful, timely, connected, and faithful to the character of God. We often think of prayer as us giving our words, thoughts, emotions, and desires to God, but just as much God ‘shows up’ through giving us experiences that we know can only come from our Lord.
- God’s grace experienced through a merciful forgiveness – nothing quite speaks the power of God in the relational dynamic than one person forgiving the unforgivable in another. When this happens, and it is glorious to give and to receive, we know God is real by how a relationship is restored when it faced destruction. Both the giver and receiver of God’s grace experience the reality of a forgiving God.
The thing that sets faith apart from life without it is the presence of God in the living of the life of faith. From the first moment we experienced the reality of the realness of God in our midst, we believed. And God heaps evidence for belief on belief. The more we believe, the more we see.
This is an updated edition of a post originally published on Tribework