Uncomfortable in the Presence of God

Uncomfortable in the Presence of God

The Holy Spirit is God’s presence within each believer. The Holy Spirit given to the church at Pentecost (Acts   2) is the continuation of a biblical theme of God’s presence. This includes creation (Gen. 1: 26– 28), the garden (Gen. 3: 8), the tabernacle (e.g., Ex. 40: 34– 38), the temple (e.g., 1   Kings 8: 10– 13), the prophetic hope (e.g., Ezek. 37: 27), the “God with us” incarnation of Jesus (Matt. 1: 23), the Word become flesh (John 1: 14), Jesus’s promise of eternal presence (“ Behold, I am with you always,” Matt. 28: 20), and the new-creation promise of God once again physically dwelling with his people (Rev. 21: 1– 22: 5). “Whatever else, the people of Israel understood themselves to be the people of the Presence, the people among whom the eternal God had chosen to dwell on earth,” 4 and it is within this context that Paul tells Christians that they are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells inside them (1   Cor. 3: 16)
— McCracken, Brett. Uncomfortable: The Awkward and Essential Challenge of Christian Community (p. 98). Crossway. Kindle Edition.

What separates Jehovah God from the all other deity is that he always has and always will be a God of presence. He was there, in the beginning, the good, the bad, the ugly, and in the end.

God is there and not silent

But there are many Christians who wish him to be, or, at the very least, wish that some of his people would just shut up. 

The Charismatic cousins bring much horror to the reserved Reformed. The cousins are loud, spontaneous, and have the propensity to act in ways that are embarrassing to the rest of the family. Ironically, the same folks who yell at their congregations to never be embarrassed about the moral truth of the Scripture themselves become embarrassed when the cousins respond exuberantly to the manifest presence of the Holy Spirit. I guess the Bible really has replaced the Holy Spirit in the Trinity...

Generally talking about the manifestation of the gifts of the Holy Spirit is awkward and uncomfortable. Many stigmas are associated with the work of the Spirit. Could it be that the Comforter brings comfort in ways that are uncomfortable?

Embracing the Discomfort

I profess to be one of the crazy cousins. 

I believe in miraculous healings, speaking in tongues, and the prophetic. 

I believe in the supernatural presence of God, both as a constant general interaction of God and his creation and as concentrated "anointing" (though not a  fan of that word) in specific places and times. 

I know these elements of faith are essential. 

I also know them to be awkward. 

I also know them to be abused. 

I also know them to have been faked. 

I also know them to generally be considered as weird. 

But I know them to be true because I know that when they are delivered in their most genuine and authentic form there is zero question that the author is the indwelled Holy Spirit. 

The manifest presence of the Spirit brings discomfort because it forces us to discern and trust. Two Christians elements sorely lacking in the 21st Century American church. Of course, the abuses and faking surrounding the "evidence" of the Spirit causes us to be leary of what we are seeing, but we bring a general distrust of everything with us when we come to church. 

We are so comfortable in our cynicism and distrust that we are easily tempted to throw anything that "doesn't make sense" out the window and deem it ungodly. But allow me to counter that 'it doesn't make sense" that an Almighty God would submit himself to the humiliating death of the cross for scum like us either. 

Perhaps now would be a good time to re-evaluate our comfort in cynicism and distrust. 

Will abuses still take place? Yes. 

Will people still fake it? Yes. 

Is there a chance that you could encounter God in a new and powerful and non-heretical way? 

Absolutely. 

 

About the Author | Josh Schaidt
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I love cookies and I still buy music one album at a time. @EmptyChurch is one way I live empty, talk faith, and opt in to follow Jesus.

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