A few years ago, I was praying silently before a meal in a restaurant and thought a waitress had walked up beside me waiting on me to stop praying, to speak to me. It was an overshadowing feeling that someone was standing over me. I started to open my eyes and look and realized I would be missing something special. I came to know that this third presence was actually the Holy Spirit.
In that situation, There was me. There was whoever else was around. And there was God. All clearly there in my surroundings. But while the third presence was known by me; He was not known by all.
The scripture teaches that God will touch our life in this way, if we let Him. The Bible says: “The Lord thy God in the midst of thee is mighty.”
King James Version (KJV)
17The LORD thy God in the midst of thee is mighty; he will save,
he will rejoice over thee with joy; he will rest in his love, he will joy
over thee with singing.
The same verse in another translation; The New King James
Version says it this way:
17 The LORD your God in your midst,
The Mighty One, will save;
He will rejoice over you with gladness,
He will quiet you with His love,
He will rejoice over you with singing.”
And The New Living Translation gives just a clearer view in
17 For the Lord your God
is living among you.
He is a mighty savior.
He will take delight in you with gladness.
With his love, he will calm all your fears.a]”[a]
He will rejoice over you with joyful songs.”
As I think of the thought of these verses; I realize that I have also had this sense that someone was over me, behind me and watching over me in private prayer recently. I have become aware that this third presence definitely was God, even though no one else was around.
Just this past week; thoughts of resentment came to mind about a certain man that harmed me, without cause. Then, the man distanced himself from me and struck out at me, behind my back to others. Thoughts about this man, began to bother me and anger me. These thoughts came to me repeatedly and finally it sunk through my hard head; that I needed to pray for this man, who has not spoken to me in quite some time, over this situation that he provoked.
I tried to pray for him but found it difficult. So I realized that before I could effectively pray for him; I had to forgive him. So, I begin to pray that God would help me forgive this man. Then, when I felt release; I asked God to bless him, in spite of my feelings.
The feeling that I had to pray for this man right then was quite strong. So, as I worked through the day; I prayed for him repeatedly. Then, late in the afternoon, unexpectedly, out of the blue who calls me? You guessed it. That very man. And he called to express an olive branch of kindness, to help me with a dis-similar situation. As I hung up the phone; I realized that the unseen power of God had been at work 300 miles away, in response to my prayers, at the same time I was praying. I felt humbled, amazed at this plain knowing that my Unseen Friend was very clearly working through me.
I know that God is in us. And many times, I am aware of this. Yet there are times it is hard to sense, because of all I am experiencing dealing with the world and its problems. The internal chatter makes it difficult to clearly sense Him, at these times.
So what a joy to realize that God is also with us externally, as an unseen friend. There is a popular art print that hangs in many Quaker Meetings; of the Christ standing in the Facing bench section,
unseen but definitely present, in the meeting of Friends.
So often this is what God does in our lives; He makes us aware of His presence but remains quietly unseen. God is never showy or pushy. He chooses to remain in the background but is definitely there for those who seek, to know Him. God is fine with remaining out of sight to the casual observer, while at the same time showing Himself to those who are wanting His presence and help. God does some of His greatest work anonymously.
So I find that God is The Holy Other. He is involved in our affairs and yet removed from them. He is with us but still over us. He abides and yet oversees. There is a wonderful reality of God as The Third Presence, for those who seek Him. May you find Him now. May He be your unseen Friend. He is mine.
This practice of silent grace when dining out brings many lessons.
I remember once at breakfast in Maryland when my companion and I finished our moment and gazed up to see another family be seated and then, maybe eight of them, settled into vocal prayer … followed by yet another family when they, too, entered.
Guess it’s yet another dimension of that not being alone …
Yes, its nice to suddenly realize you have a spiritual connection with new friends you haven’t met before. God bless you richly! 🙂 Tim
So loved this, Tim!! It is quite timely, for me… and in my ‘free’ time, I am doing exactly this sort of thinking… So many times a day does He make Himself aware… if we are in need, or in the ‘right’ space… So Awesome… trust me, I could not be doing what I’m doing right now… without His Awesome help, Grace, and Mercy… Thank you from the bottom of my heart!! Keep ‘beaming’ … ~ flo
Flo, you are an encouragement to me and many others. I hope you continue to have many moments when God shows up so clearly in your life, that it is unmistakable. Thanks for being a great friend.