In the presence of the Lord is fullness of Joy, so says Psalm 16:11. Joel, my brother in law, and I have been memorizing Scripture over the past year and this is one that has really stuck with me. Maybe because I am the type who struggles with maintaining joy and the Lord is using it to give me some clarity. In the shower this morning, I had an epiphany, which is where I have most of them. Yes, I was struggling with my mood and this Scripture came crawling out of my mind and slipped through the crack of my crusty old heart. I began to analyze what it meant to be in the “presence of the Lord” and I thought about how people sometimes act when they are in the presence of someone they greatly admire; someone famous that they have hero worshipped to some degree. It may be an actor, a politician, a great preacher, a rock star or a war hero…maybe an astronaut, a Pulitzer prize winning author or scientist. I think of the geek characters on the sitcom, Big Bang Theory and how they would act around the original cast of Star Trek. Around such famous people, we act in awe, star struck, maybe downright silly and giggly. We get all tongue-tied telling them how great they are and how we have loved and admired them our entire lives. Then I thought about another “what if”. What if I had a deadly disease and I was on a donor list and my match was very rare and time was running out? Then while on my death bed, a match comes in and saves my life. When I recovered, I would want to seek out my donor and thank them profusely; wash their feet with my hair or something. Yes, that would be a stretch of course, meant more in a figurative sense than literal, but you get the point. I would make a fool out of myself to demonstrate my gratitude and thanks to this person. While thinking of these two scenarios and how we would act in the presence of certain human beings, I realized what it meant to be in the “presence of the Lord.” God is way more awesome than any person who has ever walked this planet and He has saved more than my life. He has saved my immortal soul from Hell through Jesus Christ. Being in His presence is no more than behaving in the same way I might act around someone famous I have always admired or someone who saved my life from a deadly disease. I should tell Him how He is great, awesome, mighty, powerful, forgiving, merciful, loving, kind, gracious, wonderful, righteous, breathtaking, creative, amazing and on and on and on. When I praise God like this, I am in His presence and when I spend time thanking Him for saving me, for blessing me, providing for me, loving me, caring for me, sustaining me, equipping me, forgiving me and on and on and on, I am also in His presence and when I am in His presence in this way, there is no space in the garden of my mind for the enemy to plant seeds. I am in fact planting seeds that grow into the fullness of joy and these seeds are not like my slow growing tomato plants. These seeds bear instantaneous fruit. The nanosecond I begin praising and thanking God life feels better. My load is lighter. I realize that the greatness of God is so overwhelming compared to my problems and I realize how He has rescued me from my problems over and over and over again and how He will again. I think it’s an undeniable truth, just as sure as knowing that when I wear a nice, new white shirt that my four year old son will come up and give me a big hug and kiss and in the meantime smear his juicy, chocolate stained mouth on me; you can’t praise and thank God and stay in a bad mood. It just can’t happen. Got joy? If not, enter into His presence with praise and thanksgiving. Can’t find anything to be thankful for? Well, if you are sitting at your pc reading this blog, then you are blessed with more stuff than 70% of the world’s population. Start there.

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