God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.
God is a present help to the downtrodden, the broken-hearted, and even to those of us who are in discomfort. Often our troubles make us feel isolated, and sometimes the only remedy is the power of God’s presence. Even if he doesn’t do anything, we were built with an internal longing for God’s nearness unto us.
In fact, an argument could be made that the fall in the Garden resulted in a distance between humanity and our Creator. Adam walked with God in the cool of the day, yet after eating of the forbidden fruit his Sovereign companion became virtually untraceable. The power of Christ’s sacrifice was that it both redeemed us from sin and empowered us to close the proximity deficit that we experience in this life.
As God’s representatives in the earth, we are called to embody this same ministry of presence. Christians should be instruments to convey God’s nearness amidst darkness, oppression, and times of difficulties.
I can remember when I first arrived in Pasadena. Coming from the east coast had proven to be tumultuous and a true testing of my faith. I was in a financial struggle, spiritually exhausted, and in the midst of a dry-spell professionally. In essence, I was in trouble. It was during this time that God divinely connected me to Mark Roberts. Mark wanted to meet with me to talk about my experience as a marketplace minister, and I was happy to oblige. However, when I showed up to the meeting, Mark and I just fellowshipped. No business talk, no deep spiritual questions — just fellowship. In the following months, we would continue to meet as a means of connecting and communing as brothers in Christ. If I have learned nothing else from our interactions, God used Mark to teach me the value of being present in someone else’s life. Mark wasn’t there to change me, fix me, or even save me… Mark was just there — and that’s what mattered most.
As leaders, we are solution oriented. We are wired to fix things and tinker with things until they are right. This is a vital part of who God made you to be as a leader. However, we must also learn the ministry of presence. This ministry is the ability to serve those who follow us by just being there. We may not always have the solutions or the right answers, but we shouldn’t undervalue the power of proximity. As Christ lives in us, when we practice the ministry of presence, others can experience God’s nearness to them through us. I want to challenge you to consider adding the ministry of presence to your leadership style. Watch God use you in unimaginable and unintended ways to help bring comfort, healing, closure, and empowerment to those who follow you. It’s high time we all learned the power of being present.
Something to Think About:
Have you ever experienced the ministry of presence? If so, how did it feel?
Do you currently practice the ministry of presence?
What are ways that you can be present to those around you?
God, truly you are a present help in the time of trouble. You don’t despise the broken-hearted. You have always been there when we needed you. Thank you for the gift of leadership that you have bestowed upon us. Sometimes we become so purpose driven that we neglect the ministry of presence that you have called us to. For this we ask forgiveness and mercy. Give us the strength and wisdom to simply be near to those who are struggling and in pain. Even in silence, let the nearness of your presence speak loudly through us to our families, neighborhoods, and colleagues. We love you, and praise you in all things. In Jesus name we pray, Amen.