Saturday, December 16, 2017

God’s Presence Revealed

A young boy was peering out the window one autumn day. He looked out across the empty field to a line of trees. He noticed that the still and lifeless trees began to move. They swayed left and right. Next, he saw beautiful colored leaves leave their branches and sore through the sky like an airplane and land in the neighbor’s yard. He leaped from the window ledge and yelled through the house in search for his mother. “Mommy, Mommy”, the boy exclaimed, “The trees are alive, and the leaves are moving next door.” The mother explained to the little boy that the trees were not really alive, and the leaves were not packing up and moving down the street. The mother said, “Do you remember being outside and feeling the breeze in your face?” The boy nodded. The mother continued, “Well that breeze at times can become stronger, and we call it the wind. The wind is so strong that it can move the trees and carry leaves to faraway places. You can’t see the wind, but it’s still there all the same.” The boy looked up to his mother and said, “It’s just like God, huh?” The mother replied, “It’s exactly like God. We can’t see God, but we can see the power of what He is doing. Also, like the wind, God is strong enough to carry us through life, if we trust Him to.”

You know, that’s the truth. None of us have seen God, but if we are looking hard enough, we can see His work… and His presence will be revealed to us. Today, our passage explains how the Mighty God is revealed to His people.

No one has seen God at any time. If we love one another, God abides in us, and His love has been perfected in us. By this we know that we abide in Him, and He in us, because He has given us of His Spirit. And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent the Son as Savior of the world. Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God. And we have known and believed the love that God has for us. God is love, and he who abides in love abides in God, and God in him.
1 John 4:11-16 (NKJV)

Today, I want to set out to prove that God really does exist. Many of the discussions in the youth group that I lead are about how we can prove God. Just like the wind, we can’t physically point to God. Believers from the beginning of time have set out to prove that God really does exist, but how can we put God on trial to prove his existence. My first thought is to take the unbeliever to the place where I can since God’s presence the most. So let’s take the scientist that is convinced of the big bang theory and show him the majesty of The Great Smoky Mountains National Park. As I show him what I know to be proof of God’s existence, he tells me of plates deep inside the earth that collided causing the formation of these mountains. It would seem that science would have a compelling explanation for every argument we may have. As we examine this passage, we find that only love can truly reveal God’s presence. No one has ever seen God. However, if we who believe in God truly love one another, then that can be the first step to proving His presence to those around us. The unfortunate bottom line is that we cannot make anyone believe. We can’t save anyone, just like we cannot save ourselves. Salvation comes through the Spirit calling out to the hearts of those we encounter with our words and actions of love. We can only explain to others our understanding of who God is and the effect that His presence has had in our life.

Let’s go back to my hypothetical discussion with the scientist. I would imagine after my comment that the beauty of the mountains prove God’s presence in this world, he may call me a Jesus freak, Bible thumper, or maybe even something worse. I hope that despite the name that he is calling me, the attitude with which he is speaking to me, or the way he has treated me, that my response would be “I still love you.” The scientist may then question how I can say that I love him. The response then is simple, because God’s presence is in my life. The world knows anger for anger, and the world understands hatred. However, when we show love, the world will notice that we are different. When that non-believer questions why we are a peculiar people, we can answer because God’s presence has been revealed in our lives.

Dear God, show us the love that proves your presence. Teach us how to show that same love to those around us. Let us become instruments of your grace and point this world to you. God teach us how to abide in you and in your love. We pray this in the name of our Savior, Jesus Christ. Amen.

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