Thursday, July 8, 2004

practicing the presence of Jesus

Several years ago, I read about some fellow from the 1600's called Brother Lawrence.  His goal, I believe, was to think so much about God being always with him that he would never be unaware of God's presence.  When I first got my current job four years ago, this "practicing God's presence" got me through rough days and kept me stable.

I really hadn't thought about this method of keeping in touch with God until today.  I was brooding about how this business of turning 60 has depressed me, and thinking how little time I have left (even if I live to be 100, it's not much time) and then I remembered the "presence" thing, and decided to put it into action again.

As I walked into the door at the DC this morning, I pictured Jesus walking beside me.  When I clocked in at 6 AM, I imagined Jesus timing in with me.  When I opened boxes of freight, I visualized Jesus with box knife in hand, opening boxes alongside me.  He pushed totes onto the line with me, and went to the label machine with me to make labels.

Now this may seem farfetched and even silly, but I felt a sense of peace today that I have not had in a long time.  Even now, I'm picturing Jesus putting thoughts in His journal... maybe comments about me, and how I handled this day. 

Those times when I was sensing Jesus walking beside me today, I saw people in a different way; I had compassion instead of scorn.  When I saw the "catty" ones, who no doubt talk about me behind my back like they do about others, I realized they were talking about Jesus too, for Jesus is in me.  And it really didn't matter any more what they said.  If the assistant supervisor showed favoritism when handing out the jobs, Jesus didn't mind, so why should I? 

Don't get me wrong, I wasn't able to keep this illusion up constantly, probably only about 5% of the time; but it was enough to change my day and my outlook.  And running through my mind at various times was this hymn:


What a Friend we have in Jesus, all our sins and griefs to bear!
What a privilege to carry everything to God in prayer!
O what peace we often forfeit, O what needless pain we bear,
All because we do not carry everything to God in prayer.

Have we trials and temptations? Is there trouble anywhere?
We should never be discouraged; take it to the Lord in prayer.
Can we find a friend so faithful who will all our sorrows share?
Jesus knows our every weakness; take it to the Lord in prayer.

Are we weak and heavy laden, cumbered with a load of care?
Precious Savior, still our refuge, take it to the Lord in prayer.
Do your friends despise, forsake you? Take it to the Lord in prayer!
In His arms He’ll take and shield you; you will find a solace there.


csandhollow said...

This is probally one of my all time favorite songs.

bnanajm said...

Sometimes I think you and I are too much alike.  Brother Lawrence's book is sitting on my coffee table and I'm surprised you didn't see it when you were here.  And as you know, What a Friend has always been one of my favorites.  Remember when we harmonized in Kentucky?  I'm glad you reminded me of the book however.  Every once in awhile, I need a reminder too.  God is good.....