I have been reading this book since April. Slowly pacing my way through one of Tozar’s cerebral manuscripts, composited by others after his death. I have learned with Tozar’s writings that you need to take them page by page. This may mean reading one chapter or even a single page and contemplating it for a number of days or weeks. Several times, I go back and reread what I have already read. Not because of lack of comprehension, but with pure certainty there is so much more dripping from the words on the page.
Do I have that?? Do I feel God’s presence with every passing moment?
I remember the moment my eyes flit across the words nearly perfectly. The flight from Sydney, Australia to Bali, Indonesia was barely over six hours. I had dedicated this time to really dig my teeth into Tozar’s book. My mind was made up, I would at least make a dent before I returned to the States in less than two months.
In a chapter where Tozar had been focusing on modern day Christianity and how we have failed to experience God in our day to day lives, he quotes well-known theologian, Charles H. Spurgeon.
“I can testify that never for 15 minutes since my conversion have I been without a sense of the presence of God.”
Initially, I was shocked that anyone could say such a thing with sheer honesty. If they were being sincere, they must be pretty high on the “Christian scale.” Now, I have no doubt that God is always with us, and He desires communication with us. Though at times my fatal human flesh tempts me to doubt Gods interaction in my life, my faith runs deeper than fleeting human thoughts. But there was something about what Spurgeon said that gnawed at me. Do I have that?? Do I feel God’s presence with every passing moment? I read on to hear Tozar’s response.
The words that God had just spoken to me were so obvious and simple that I could not help but laugh at my ignorant self.
“When you have God with you, you are conscious of God being with you no matter where you are. You are conscious of it all the time, no matter what you are doing.”
I spent the next two months toying over these words. I knew I had experienced God in a raw and authentic way. The moment He touched down into my life, is one that has left such piercing residue, it is impossible to overlook. So I know God is with me. But very rarely am I consciously aware of it. I began to ask God to reveal Himself to me in the manner He had to Spurgeon and Tozar. I wanted to be aware of my God walking beside me.
My mom and step dad live on a hill that overlooks our city. There are many spots on the route to their house where you can catch a glimpse of the great river intertwining between city lights and tree tops. I had only been home a week. Every time I reached the highest peak of vision, I would stop my car and gaze out at the beautiful scenery, soaking in the magnificence of my Father’s creation.
When I am basking in my Savior’s presence I am closer to who He has truly created me to be.
One day, as I was driving up the hill, I began to ask God, yet again, how I could determine His presence with me. As I stopped at the highest peak, like I had every journey home prior to this one, I burst into laughter. The words that God had just spoken to me were so obvious and simple that I could not help but laugh at my ignorant self.
Joy. I am in your joy. Where do you think this radiant delight thriving from within you comes from? It is from me, my child. It is from my always constant presence with you.
I had not noticed it was there until one of my leaders had pointed it out to me while on my missions trip months before this encounter. Even then, I could hardly believe it to be true. I had spent my entire adolescent years in life consuming depression. For so long I doubted I would ever experience happiness again. The fact that I now had a noticeable flicker in my eye and bounce in my step was utterly unimaginable. Yet, in the same moment, it seemed so natural, so genuine, I had not been aware of it. It was as if I had stepped into the self I was always meant to be, what I was created to be.
Everlasting joy. The answer to my question had been with me all along. I, simply, had never sat still in the peace of Christ long enough to hear it. No wonder I felt complete when I felt joy. When I am basking in my Savior’s presence I am closer to who He has truly created me to be. The one thing I believed impossible to reach, God has freely and graciously placed upon me, without me even realizing.
He wants you to be aware of Him every second of every hour of every day.
Now, I beg you not to take my words and experiences for your own personal testimonies. There is one thing I am fairly sure about my God, He rarely does the same thing twice, in the same way. He is unique and he speaks and identifies with each one of us in our own uniquely, personal ways. Merely because I encounter him one way, does not mean you will the same. So, how are you, with unquestioned certainty, aware of God’s presence in your life? I learned from Tozar, who looked to the men and women of the bible, the prophets of old, who heard from God, which now I desire to pass down to you.
Pull the car over, sit in stillness, and bask in the Lord’s creation. Get away from the noise and business of this time demanding life, and ask your Father to reveal Himself to you. He is there, He always is. He wants you to be aware of Him every second of every hour of every day. There is no one else who can answer the question for you. It can only come from God Himself. Be still and know that He is.
Tozar, A.W. Voice of a Prophet. Regal, 2014.