Spiritual Growth

Surely the Lord is in This Place

On Sunday morning, I sat on the balcony of our cabin, my chair turned outward overlooking the rolling hills.  My husband and I were on a much needed getaway at a ranch off the beaten path.  A nervous jackrabbit paused on the dirt road; birds soared overhead, unaware of their all too familiar backdrop of clouds and blue sky. 

Much like the birds, I often take my surroundings for granted.  As a light breeze swept across my face, I relished the peace of the moment.  I have this thing for breezes.  I can be all wound up inside, then I’ll feel that soft touch of wind on my skin and it’s as though something instantly smooths out the inner wrinkles in my soul. 

It’s been a season where I’ve been regularly overwhelmed and stretched to my limits, so this quiet morning truly felt like an oasis in the desert and I savored every part of it.

GOD ECHOES

Lately I’ve been using six devotional books along with my bible in the morning.  I’m not out to win any medals.  I’m also not on a Christian workaholic binge.  Years have passed since I used my morning time with God as a way to build my spiritual resume by checking off books read or verses memorized. 

I have made friendships with these devotionals.  They are the sustenance by which I feed my soul.  Each one has a unique way of pointing me towards God and the way I need to walk with Him daily.  None of them are related to one another, yet, God in His ever present care for me, often brings a synchronized message into a morning as I read and pray. 

God echoes Himself so we hear Him clearly.

In this precious solitude God kept bringing one theme: “My presence is constant.  Seek to be aware of my presence.”

GOD IS NEAR

Sometimes, like those birds, we get so used to our surroundings, we forget to step back and recognize God is near.  His kingdom is at hand.  As I read, the thought came: “Surely the Lord is in this place …”  At the time I forgot where that word was in Scripture,  who said it and in what circumstance.  All I knew was that my heart resonated in a new and more meaningful way.

You are going to love what happened next. I sat reading the last book in my stack, Ann Spangler’s “Praying the Names of God.”  We’re on the name, “Elohim” which means God above all other gods, Creator and Supreme God.  Ann guides us to scriptures for praising God, thanking God, confessing to God and asking from God as we pray over the given name of God we are studying. 

I’m not doing the book according to the days of the week, as it is written, so the fact that this particular passage landed on the day when God was obviously calling me to remember His constant Emmanuel presence was about as likely as me finding a gnat on an elephant.

HEARING HIS VOICE

The scripture Ann pointed to was Gen 28:16 “Surely the Lord is in this place and I was not aware of it.

It was the very verse that pressed into my mind, seeming like my own fleeting thought after I read the first few devotional books.  God spoke and I heard Him.  I read of His presence.  He reverberated His Word into my heart and mind.  I let the verse melt and sink into deep parched places.

GOD WITH YOU

Surely the Lord is in this place.  He is here on this precious getaway weekend, giving me the peace and refreshment I have needed.

Surely the Lord is in every place I go, every place I stay, every place I am called, every place I wish I weren’t, and every place I love to be.

Surely the Lord is in the inward places in my heart where I am prone to fear, anger or worry.

Surely the Lord is in the place of my concerns, with the people whose troubles distress me.  He is present in the trials that threaten to undo me.

Surely the Lord is in every place.  He is near.  He is with me.

The rest of the week I have been silently rehearsing God’s assurance as I enter new places.  When I am faced with experiences that challenge me, I remember His nearness.  He has been soothing my heart with the remembrance of His intimate sweetness.  He shared His message to me at a time when I needed it most.

Surely the Lord is in this place – the place where you are right now with whatever delights you, whatever confounds you, whatever scares the daylights out of you, whatever burdens you.  He is near.  He is with you.

Let it become your private mantra of comfort and confidence:

Surely the Lord is in this place.


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12 Comments

  • Reply
    Jessica G
    July 23, 2017 at 9:19 PM

    That scripture makes me think of the concept of Emmanuel or “God with us” and how I never saw that continuum from the Old to the New Testament, which reveal God’s character as well as his power and desire for relationship. Awareness of that fact and being attuned to it are what I long to discern. Thank you for sharing this profound, timely truth.

  • Reply
    Patty
    July 23, 2017 at 9:54 PM

    I’m right there with you Jessica. I’m becoming increasingly aware of His desire for relationship. Many “facts” of our faith can be intellectually recounted (and that’s not a bad thing), yet still need time to be assimilated in such a way as to become the ground we stand upon and the force that drives our life. The truth of abiding – Him with us, Him in us, us in Him and with Him becomes clearer and deeper each time I revisit it or He calls my wandering attention back to it. I’m so grateful to be walking into greater understanding and practice with you.

  • Reply
    Christine Ang
    July 24, 2017 at 7:38 AM

    These truths are so beautifully written Patty and I feel like in this season of my life He is speaking the same truths to me. I am reminded that in every moment of the day, He IS in this place but I haven’t been as mindful of his presence and in seeing His loving hand in all things. It’s through the various trials I’ve been going through recently that He’s reminded me that He is right beside me waiting and longing for me to reach out to Him and seek Him. Thank you for sharing your beautiful gift of writing and encouragement. I needed to hear this this morning. Love you!

    • Reply
      Patty
      July 24, 2017 at 11:47 AM

      I am beyond grateful that what I wrote touched you. It is hardest when we are overdone to remember the truth that God is near. Our perspective slips up, then we are prone to see the darkness instead of the fullness of hope He offers. You know our hope isn’t in the “fixing” of our troubles. It is in Him, and His very personal presence He gives us through the trials. I am seeing more and more the goodness in the situations I wish would disappear or resolve. It is those very challenging times that He uses to grow something more like Him within us – as we let Him. Thank you for this comment, sweet friend. You blessed my morning by letting me know you were touched by what I wrote.

  • Reply
    Barbie
    July 24, 2017 at 2:47 PM

    Thank you Patty. Yes, I do believe that surely the Lord is in this place in my heart where I’ve been struggling so. Thank you for sharing and encouraging.

    • Reply
      Patty
      July 25, 2017 at 2:42 PM

      Barbie,
      Thank you for faithfully being here and letting me know you are by commenting. He is!! I know He is. His presence, as you know, never means we will not struggle. Sometimes it feels like we will literally be undone. I have been in depths of hurt and even bordering on hopelessness on and off in this season. Still, He holds us. It is mornings like this one on that balcony that remind me of His intimate touch, which I, like Jacob, can be completely oblivious to at other times. Surely He is in this place … and I did not know it. I relate. I “know” it, but I don’t always “know” it – deep within where it matters most. You are a treasure, Barbie. You have encouraged me in my blogging for years now. I’m grateful for you and I’m praying over that very place you mentioned in your heart right now – that the God of all comfort will comfort you as only He can.

  • Reply
    Michelle Waldrip
    August 1, 2017 at 4:17 PM

    I made a note to read this “later,” as I was expecting my new nephew at the time it popped up, and I could hardly think of anything else while I prayed for him and my sister-in-law and brother, and waited for good news! (And all was well, and there were cute pictures!) I think I needed these ideas more now, than I needed them then – what “God timing.” <3

  • Reply
    Patty
    August 1, 2017 at 4:47 PM

    Michelle, I’m so grateful for that timing. I can relate to thinking I had set something aside for an “arbitrary” moment and then finding God had orchestrated a purpose in the way it all came to pass.

  • Reply
    Teresa
    August 8, 2017 at 6:05 AM

    Patty, this is so beautifully written and such a sweet reminder that He IS always with us. Are the photos from your trip – they are gorgeous pics!

    Thank you for this post. It made me want to go read my Bible outside in nature so that’s what I’m going to do!

    Hugs and Blessings!

    • Reply
      Patty
      August 14, 2017 at 9:51 PM

      Teresa,
      Yes! Those pics were from our trip. So beautiful. I think back to that place regularly now. You have the right idea – grab that Bible and go sit outdoors to soak in beauty and truth. Thanks for letting me know this blessed you.
      ~ Patty

  • Reply
    Michelle
    October 12, 2017 at 10:13 AM

    Beautiful post and so true – He is always with us, and it is about His presence.

    • Reply
      Patty
      October 12, 2017 at 12:45 PM

      Thank you, Michelle. I’m so glad you popped by and that this blessed you. Looking forward to collaborating to bless others. ~ Patty

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