Promise of Presence 

Joy. It’s the epitome of the season. Yet, for many of us it’s an act. We pull our fake facade of contentment over the empty groaning of our souls. We are masters at masking our discontent with smiles and scripture. Our lives seem together and orderly but deep within there is chaos and disorder. The echo of emptiness bounces off the walls of our hearts and into the channels of our minds. We can’t shake this. This thing that has the attention of our hearts. 

Something has grabbed our hearts attention. Everyone of us has something on the radar of our hearts. It could be anger, stress, brokenness, disappointment, unfulillment…whatever it is, the beat of our heart echos the pain. 

Whatever has the attention of our hearts also has our energy. We go to bed with it on our minds, we wake up with it still there, it consumes us. Our emotions, our choices, our conversations, our plans…they all revolve around this thing that has our hearts attention because when something has our hearts it has our lives. 

In Matthew 2 we see the story of 2 types of seekers. One is superficial, the other is sincere. 

The superficial seeker was Herod. Herod focused on the threat of the present over the promise of the presence. Superficial joy is obessed with the apparent. It’s stuck in the moment and misses the miraculous. It has the appearance but lacks the substance. 

The sincere seeker(s) on the other hand, set their hope in the presence of God over the threat of the present. 

The wise men rejoiced when they saw the star; notice they didn’t wait until they got to house where the child was, they rejoiced when they saw the star. 

The star was the promise of His presence. The men were wise indeed for their  hope was not locked on the present moment but on the promise that God is here. 

We have this as a sure and steadfast anchor of our souls, a hope that enters in beyond the veil, where Jesus has gone…” Hebrews 6:19

In the Old Testament, the temple/tabernacle conplex was divided into two main parts. The holy place and the most holy place, a veil separated the two. No one was allowed to enter the Most Holy place except for the high priest and he could only go in one day a year. Why? Because that’s where the Presence of God dwelled. The Skeinah glory of God honored in between the cherubs. This was more than a building it was the promise of His presence. That is where our hope is to be anchored, not in circumstances but in His presence. 

Joy in the Greek is the word Chara and means “exuberant pleasure, delight.” Its experienced when our soul finds its delight. 

Our hearts groan, we have a need that the present cannot satisfy. We crave goodnees that this world cannot give. 

Yet, There is a place where our need can be meet….

18 Moses said, “Please show me your glory.” 19 And he said, “I will make all my goodness pass before you and will proclaim before you my name ‘The Lord.’ And I will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and will show mercy on whom I will show mercy. 20 But,” he said, “you cannot see my face, for man shall not see me and live.” 21 And the Lord said, “Behold, there is a place by me where you shall stand on the rock, 22 and while my glory passes by I will put you in a cleft of the rock, and I will cover you with my hand until I have passed by. 23 Then I will take away my hand, and you shall see my back, but my face shall not be seen.” Exodus 33:18-23

There is a place…a place where your soul can be satisfied; in His presence. 

“He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High, will abide in the shadow of the Almighty.” Psalm 91:1

The Hebrew word dwell means, “to keep the attention directed.” While abide means “secure”. When God has the attention of our hearts than our souls will be stable no matter what comes our way. 

Joy is a choice. But to choose joy we must choose His presence. 

“…in your presence is fullness of joy.” Psalm 16:11
The joy of His presence is the pleasure our souls crave. 

The question is will we choose the threat of the present over the promise of His presence? 

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