Day 2

We Are Welcomed into God’s Presence

from the The Presence of God reading plan

Psalm 27:4, Isaiah 6:1-7, Revelation 4:1-11, Ephesians 2:13-18, Hebrews 4:16, Jude 1:24-25

BY Jen Yokel

Over the past few months, I’ve been fascinated by the life and writing of Julian of Norwich. As a fourteenth-century English woman, Julian knew a thing or two about living in a chaotic world. From political turmoil to watching her community’s decimation by the Black Death, she no doubt sensed the fear of her world and heard the pains of her neighbors. I imagine as an anchorite, as a woman living out her days secluded in a church yet still available to her community, her neighbors would have come to her. I picture her as a safe, motherly presence where they could confess their fears, vent their anger, and ask for prayer. Yet for all this heaviness, here is a woman who could write these words: “All shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of things shall be well.”

Over 600 years later, it is clear that all is still not well. This story stretches even farther back than the Middle Ages—the story of a people searching for the presence of God.

Like Isaiah, we look upon God’s glory and despair at all we can never be (Isaiah 6:1–7). Like David, we ache to dwell with God and gaze on His beauty (Psalm 27:4). We talk about a Creator who is close to creation, maybe even catch a glimpse of Him in the laughter of loved ones or the roar of the ocean, yet we also read of the throne room in Revelation and wonder how we could survive such astonishing power (Revelation 4).

What is this presence we all seek? What does it mean to find God when the world is in disarray and He feels unreachable?

In his letter to the Ephesians, Paul began by reminding these faithful Christ-followers who they once were: without Christ, excluded and without hope (Ephesians 2:12). They were Gentiles, outsiders to Israel’s promises and citizenship, yet even that division, as Paul points out, was “done in the flesh by human hands” (v.11). God’s greater plan is a radical, cosmic hospitality, beginning and ending with a very real, human yet divine presence.

“But now in Christ Jesus, you who were far away have been brought near by the blood of Christ” (v.13). In the mystery of grace, a rabbi who loved, healed, laughed, wept, listened, and suffered also died and returned to life. He broke down the divisions between Jew and Gentile, slave and free, male and female, God and humanity. And in an even greater mystery, we become the dwelling place of God, each of us as individual rooms in a living temple more glorious than the finest building in the world, a shelter from a world of plagues and turmoil and despair.

God’s presence, His dwelling, is no longer a place “out there” that we have to reach. It’s not an exclusive club or a far-off mountaintop. It is awe-inspiring, maybe even terrifying, and it is as close as skin and bone. It defies our human boundaries and looks like a parade of misfits who are grateful for a seat at the table. It is safety and warmth and family. All are welcome, and there is always room for more—always a space to come in from the chaos and rest in the hope that all just might be well.

Post Comments (69)

69 thoughts on "We Are Welcomed into God’s Presence"

  1. Rose Tough says:

    “A parade of misfits who are grateful for a seat at the table.”
    Sometimes I feel unworthy, but I must remember that the Lord is always with me no matter my shortcomings. Thank you for the message!

  2. Nijah Lain says:

    So we are the presence of God? Because He is will us, because He is everything.

  3. Minnie Lee says:

    Thank you for the beautiful description of God’s radically welcoming presence.

  4. Alexandra Stinson says:

    Shes, I absolutely adore the reminder here: no matter where you are in your life, no matter what is happening in the world around you, God’s love and presence is there beside you. Where we see bad, God sees an opportunity for us to find stillness. Sending love and prayers your way.

  5. Char Hight says:

    Hebrews 4:16 stood out to me. Throne of Grace. ❤️

    1. Nikki Schonfeldt says:

      I agree. Such an encouraging verse

  6. Andrea P says:

    Beautifully said. ❤️

  7. justine viola says:

    I always feel scared when reading Revelations …

  8. Lanie says:

    SHES!! I’m reading through all the comments now and I’m just sobbing at all your sweet prayers and stories. They were so felt, and we heard our babies heartbeat for the first time! @taylor graves, I had the pleasure of walking through my season of waiting with a friend who had a similar story to yours. Both of us in our own ways got REAL with God. I told him I didn’t believe prayer worked and I needed him to prove me wrong. I didn’t even want to pray for myself so I just prayed for my friend. She told me she couldn’t go back to church after what happened and randomly one Sunday I called her and she did. She felt like she was finally able to turn back to God. She ended up pregnant the next month and gave birth to a healthy baby girl last month! God has lined our stories up so beautifully I know prayer works. I’m still very well aware that things can go wrong, but I know one thing. I won’t stop asking for prayers for anyone who will give them! And I pray for you that the Lord will put a friend in your life like mine to walk through this season with you!

    1. Taylor Graves says:

      @ Lanie I’m so happy to hear that you heard your baby’s heartbeat!!! I’ll continue to pray that you have a healthy pregnancy. Thank you for your prayers. I am starting to grow closer to God during this time and I know that He will put people in my life who will become great friends and will help me get through this season.

    2. Teresa Donley says:

      LANIE I’m so very happy that you got to hear your baby’s heartbeat. The miracle of life. I pray that every day will bring you the joy of dwelling with God and anticipating your little one. I’m glad you have such a great friend, and that you both came back to God after tragedy. God bless you.

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