Each year my wife Shirley and I would go to our denomination’s International Convention . However one year, she wasn’t able to come. So I went alone.
That year the convention was at a mountain resort in New Mexico. The resort was extremely remote, miles away from the nearest town. There were no restaurants, no sight-seeing tours, no rental car companies and no bright lights on Broadway. The only entertainment was television in our rooms.
It so happened that very few of my friends came to this convention and so I was extremely lonely. I can recall after services looking around for someone I knew to sit and talk with. But it seemed after each service no one I knew was to be found. So each night I would linger for a time until most everyone was out of the auditorium. Then I would saunter up to my room and plop on my bed. This was before the time of cell phones and so the only phones were in our rooms. Each night I would call Shirley to discuss the conference and remedy my loneliness and when I hung up with her I would begin channel surfing.
Now I need to put this story on “pause” for a minute and rewind to about a month before I had gone to the convention.
For about thirty days before I went to the conference, I had had a lot of meaningful prayer times with the Lord. It seemed that each day around that time, I was sensing God’s presence in some unique way. So, I went to this event thoroughly basking in the presence of the Lord.
So let’s hit “play” again.
One night after I talked with Shirley, I began channel surfing. I remember that I was clicking the remote in a rhythm equal to about once a second. Click…click…click. In the course of my channel changing, I ran across one of those “Totally Nude” stations. And I recollect that I never skipped a beat. The clicking of the remote kept to the “every second” rhythm that I was in and there was no pause on the XXX station.
Here is the reason why. In the second that the remote was on that station, several thoughts went through my mind. First, I thought, “You are alone here Chris. You could look at this channel and no one would know.” I also thought to myself, “You are very lonely. You could use some fun.” And I thought, “What’s the big deal? It’s not as though you are addicted to this stuff. It will just be one time.” And then I thought, “It will really feel good.” But last I thought, “But Jesus is right here beside you, watching the same TV with you and he would not be at all pleased if you did.” So in rhythm, I moved to the next station.
Now don’t ask me how all of that thinking got squeezed into one solitary second; but it did.
After I was about six channels removed from the station, I stopped and thanked God for his abiding presence and wiped tears of joy from my eyes.
The interesting part about this story is Jesus is with all of us. Psalms 139 tells us He is everywhere. He is all around us. He is right beside us. And we who know Him know that He dwells inside every believer.
However, I learned that night that there is an important key to being fully aware that He is with us. And that is…choosing to be with Him regularly. If we will make the deliberate choice to be with the Lord in prayer and by bathing ourselves in his Word; we will detect Him with us in the crucial times of our lives—the times when we need a miracle—the times when we need answers—the times when temptation would like to take us down.
For He Himself said, “I will never leave you or forsake you.” — Hebrews 13:5
Certainly there are many reasons for the presence of God in our lives; but at least for me, I can’t think of a better one than this.