Practicing God’s Presence {and His Sense of Humor}

I think God has a sense of humor, no irreverence intended. Not only have I seen it displayed in my own life many a time, but I believe Scripture shows this too. First because we have one and we are created in his image! But an instance from Scripture comes to mind as well. 

The Philistines had captured the ark of God, which they took and set up beside their own god Dagon. Only to find him, the next day, facedown on the floor. So they set him up again, but to no avail. For the next day he fell again, breaking off his arms and head! Then the Lord struck them with hemorrhoids! And that’s when they finally realized that God was against them and that his ark needed to go. 

A somewhat comical picture if you think about.

Think of a bunch of hemorrhoid afflicted people running around trying to decided what to do with the ark! (1 Samuel 5)

It’s as though the Lord was saying, “So you think you and your god are greater than me? Well, I’ll show you!”

He did that with me yesterday, in a way.

Not that I have any Dagon gods or other such statues in my house. But I often do allow other things to come before him. (Of course, I’m the only one who ever does that, right?) And I find that sometimes he has to knock them off my shelf too!

We had tackled the rearranging of furniture, making room for the arrival of our new wardrobe. (And the much-needed storage space!) And while replacing books on shelves, I managed to knock our TV screen over. Like Dagon, there it lay, face down on the floor! So of course, I set it back up again, hoping it would still work. It didn’t, but just displayed lots of strange lines, squiggles, and cracks. My TV idol, in a sense, had lost its arms and head!

Now I suppose at this point, I should clarify. I don’t think TVs are necessarily idolatrous. I’m not trying to condemn anyone here!

But the funny thing is, I had felt that I needed to stop watching so many movies.

Even though they were all good, clean, wholesome movies, which is all that we can watch. It was only a DVD player connected to a computer screen and couldn’t even get channels! We haven’t had an actual TV in years.

Not that I was wasting time doing it, as I usually multi-tasked doing other things as well. But I just watched the same DVDs over and over again. (Talk about boring! And dumb!)

But the main reason was because I knew that I needed to work at practicing the presence of God.

In case you’re unfamiliar with this spiritual discipline it simply means striving to be constantly aware of God’s presence, and to communitcate with him throughout the day. In other words, I wanted more communion with him, to draw closer to him.

And I realized mono-tasking was a necessary requirement toward achieving that goal. Bible study with TV noise in the background was not conducive to this!

The only way for me to be constantly aware of him was to cut out noise and distractions.

Starting with the TV. And yes, the TV had an off button. But I didn’t seem to be too great at using it! I had actually prayed about this a lot during our month away from home (traveling in the USA). But I wondered how to present the idea of no TV to Hubby. And then what would we do with the TV? I had hoped to give it to friends. But now (much to my dismay) it’s going to a landfill. 😦 If only I had acted immediately upon our return, at least that could have been avoided!

So while I wavered and procrastinated, the Lord set about showing me that nothing can be set up beside him. And in a sense, proceeded to knock “my Dagon” to the ground!

Though at first angry and troubled with myself for not having obeyed, I was also grateful to the Lord. Grateful that he will always do whatever it takes to keep me on the path toward spiritual growth. Thankful, because I know if left to my own devices — I often continue to procrastinate, delay, or make excuses.

And how about you?

Do you want to grow closer to God? Hear his voice better, and feel that you’re coming to know him more and more?

1. First, thank him that he wants our spiritual growth even more than we do.

And will even knock “our Dagons” to the ground if necessary!

2. And then seek out and eliminate the things in your life that you distract you from communion with him!

What will you do this week to help you practise God’s presence?

And then will you share what you learn with us? Finding time for quiet in our busy world takes work. So we could use all the tips we can get!

Draw near to God and he will draw near to you.

James 4:8 WEB

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