IT can seem difficult to feel God's presence as we face life's challenges. In fact, we often hear people (or even ourselves) complain that although they pray, they don't feel God's presence. Our yearning to feel closer to God can be fulfilled, however, because God is ever present, and man, spiritual man made in God's image and likeness, can never truly be separated from His peace and power. Even if we can only accept this fact on trust, at first, it helps us begin to see that the way to feel God's nearness is to turn to Him wholeheartedly.
Feeling the presence of God is not an occasional experience of overpowering emotion, nor are there any shortcuts in drawing closer to Him. But we do feel the presence of God moment by moment as we strive to gain an ever-deeper understanding of who and what He is. This spiritual understanding acknowledges one God, all-powerful, all-loving.
Learning that God's power is always there to protect and guide His children, that His dominion and love guard and govern us, brings a peaceful certainty of His presence into our lives. This closeness is felt in the quietude of prayer as well as during the noise and hustle of everyday life.
When we turn to God, we pray and ask for His protection and guidance in our lives. Recently I was reminded of how God, divine Love, takes care of His children. I inadvertently banged my knee so hard that I felt faint. As a Christian Scientist, I had been learning to turn to God whenever I needed help or healing, so I prayed quietly to feel God's presence and protection. And I really needed to feel His ever-present love right then! My prayer wasn't long or involved. It was a simple, direct appeal for God 's help. And it met my need. I was quickly at peace, and the pain left.
The book of Isaiah promises, ``Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee.'' This is what happened when I quietly prayed. God didn't suddenly enter the room -- His presence is inescapable. But I had turned my thought to what I understood of the goodness of God and of His ever-presence, and this had enabled me to feel His care in a very tangible way -- through healing.
Christ Jesus continually turned to God in prayer. When individuals came to him for healing, he immediately rejected the erroneous perception of events and turned instead to the true, God-governed reality of man as the ever-peaceful, ever-comforted creation of God.
Paul urged the Philippians, ``Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus.'' This mind of Christ is the spiritual understanding we can all claim; it opens the closed doors of fear, to hope and peace. The mind of Christ is the consciousness that God is good and that man, God's perfect child, is always able to feel the presence of his creator, God. As we grow to understand God better, we will feel His love more and more in our lives. We'll begin to understand that God is not a spasmodic, unrel iable presence but the eternal, ever-presence, always loving, caring for, and comforting His beloved children.
Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, assures us in Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, ``God is infinite, therefore ever present, and there is no other power nor presence.'' As we grow in our understanding that God is all-powerful, the sweet sense of divine Love's tender care will encircle us with peace, harmony, joy. And we'll find that we do feel God's presence.