Thursday, August 09, 2007

God's Presence 15: Humility

One of the powerful aspects of the book "The Practice of the Presence of God" is how Brother Lawrence is such a humble and sincere man. In his eleventh letter he writes: "Since you are seriously interested in knowing how I attained the ability God granted me to dwell in His presence, I will try to explain it. But I must ask you not to show my letter to anyone. If I thought you were going to let someone else read it, I would not discuss the matter..." (p. 49) First of all he attests to the fact that the only reason he has the ability to be aware of God's presence is because God gave him that ability. In a society where it is always about "me" this is quite refreshing. But he also has a tremendously humble attitude. It reminds me of what Peter said: 1 Peter 5:6- "Humble yourselves, therefore, under God's mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time."
The key to being in the presence of God, Brother Lawrence says, is "I wanted to simply belong totally to God." The truth is, as long as we are caught up in our own selfishness and sinfulness, as long as we are more concerned about what the world has for us, we will not be able to practice being aware of God's presence in our lives. So, we have to make the decision about whom we will follow.
But Brother Lawrence continues: "I began to live as if there were no one but God and myself in the world." I remember how when I first met my wife Tami (of course she wasn't my wife then), all I could think about was being with her and talking to her. Most people have this experience in some way when they start to date someone special. This is how it needs to be with us and God if we are going to allow ourselves to experience God's presence; we must humble ourselves and only think about God.
Brother Lawrence has some good closing thoughts to this letter (p. 50): "But when we faithfully keep ourselves in His holy presence and always remember that He is before us, we avoid offending Him (at least voluntarily). Then, we may take the holy liberty of asking Him for the grace we need." Wouldn't it be nice to have this kind of closeness with God? It can be done. Let us humble ourselves before God this day. Tell me what you think.