If you’re out in the countryside, how can you tell if you’re near water?
You may be able to catch a glimpse of blue and know that you’re near a lake or pond, but sometimes trees may hide it from your view. What then?
You can use your other senses, plus search for indirect clues.
If you hear the sound of waves lapping on the shore or running water cascading over rocks, you know you’re close to water even if you can’t see it.
Hearing the call of the red-winged blackbird can be another clue, because this bird prefers habitats near water.
Your sense of smell might help you detect the presence of water, too. Wet earth gives off a distinctive scent, and the presence of algae in a lake also emits an odour that can be a tip-off.
If vegetation is blocking the sight of a pond or river, even that vegetation itself can be a clue for you. If you see lots of willow trees, you’re bound to be near water, as willows are naturally found there.
So there are things we can look for that indicate the presence of water, even if it’s hidden from our sight.
But what about when we’re trying to determine if God is near?
We might not be able to see Him directly in physical form, but are there still indications that our Heavenly Father is close by?
First of all, Scripture assures us that God is very near to us. Jesus promised that He would never leave us or forsake us. So we have a guarantee that He’s always there for us, even if we can’t see Him physically.
Also, we can sense His presence indirectly through the circumstances of our lives.
Sometimes we hear a certain sermon or read a particular Bible verse at just the right time. It speaks right into our situation and is just what we needed to hear that day. When you “coincidentally” hear just the right word to build your faith or encourage you, I don’t think it’s an accident at all: it’s God at work, showing you that He’s close by, arranging things for your good.
At other times we might “see” God through the kindness of a Christian friend who faithfully supports us emotionally as we go through a difficult time. God knows how to place just the right person in our lives to encourage us at our lowest points.
Sometimes God speaks to us in prayer: we get an answer or direction about a certain issue we’ve been bringing before Him. The leading of the Holy Spirit shows us that God is very near.
We can also sense the nearness of God as we see Him working in the lives of other believers: the testimonies of others in the body of Christ give us incontrovertible evidence that God is with us, too.
And we can certainly detect God’s presence through the bountiful gifts He’s given us. Scripture tells us that every good gift is from above. So everything good in our lives, from a loving family to a secure job to the beauties of nature, is another sign of His presence and beneficence.
So even though we can’t see God directly, we can find clues all around us which point to His nearness.
What are some of the ways that God has shown you that He’s present in your life?
© 2021 Lori J. Cartmell. All rights reserved.