NAVIGATING CRISES (part three)
Principle Three: Remember God’s Presence
In the year King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord sitting on a throne, high and lifted up, and the train of his robe filled the temple (Isaiah 6:1).
As Isaiah worked through his grief upon the death of King Uzziah, he and his nation faced a major crisis. Their longtime king had died and suddenly a very stable and prosperous situation abruptly faced an uncertain future. Since we can’t predict the future, we shouldn’t worry about the future and we should let worry about events we cannot control rob us of the enjoyment of the present.
We know better, but it’s good to hear these words: Keep trusting God. He is always in control even when your circumstances seem out of control or your future seems uncertain.
This was new ground to young Isaiah. Scholars feel King Uzziah was the only king Isaiah had ever known.
In this context, God sent Isaiah a vision and from this vision we learn how to navigate the crises that come into our life, whether it’s a transition, like losing a job or changing addresses, or living through a pandemic.
Principle One was when crisis comes, look to God.
Principle Two was when crisis comes, remember God is sitting on his throne.
Principle Three is remember God’s presence. The vision came dramatically. Isaiah suddenly sees God sitting on a throne, high and lifted up. Suddenly the train of His robe filled the temple. Scholars debate whether or not the train filled the holy of holies or the entire temple complex. In ancient times, in biblical times, the train of a king’s robe symbolized glory and splendor, majesty and authority. The longer the back of the robe, the more powerful the king.
This train was one more reminder that God is present with us, especially in crises. The heavenly King, the Lord Himself, was in the presence of Isaiah in this critical moment. And Isaiah was in the presence of the Lord. God is not way up there or out there somewhere. He’s right here with us, right now.
God is with us when our world crumbles. God is with us when our loved one dies. God is with us in moments of celebration and in moments of devastation. Isaiah lost his long-time king but he encountered the living God who lives and reigns forever. God is a present reality. We can count on God and on God’s presence.
- Ryan Lister, Professor of Theology at Western Seminary, listed ten things we should know about the presence of God. Take a moment to review these theological truths found in this article ( https://www.crossway.org/articles/10-things-you-should-know-about-the-presence-of-god/).
Isaiah experienced God’s presence. Can you think of a time you unmistakably experienced God’s presence? That you were overwhelmed by God’s presence? We know in our heads that God is present at all times in all places, but He especially makes Himself known in our crises.
The official Facebook page of the United Methodist Church posted the question one time: When have you felt the presence of God in your life?
People responded by sharing very specific personal moments:
Kate Bowler was diagnosed with stage IV cancer. At the time, she was only given a couple of months to live. She was surprised by how, in the midst of her dark days, she encountered God’s presence.
She said, “God was there for me . . . I was genuinely surprised that in the worst of my hospital moments, I could feel God’s presence. God was just there.”
Katie Rebecca Cole answered the Facebook question by saying, “I felt God when I learned I had thyroid cancer at 30. I can remember the doctor telling me and then this unexplained peace.”
Randy Nunley admitted he felt God’s presence “the night I saw my dad take his last breath. I felt a sense of peace in the room, which I know was the presence of God.”
Several people shared about facing some of the darkest, most anxious moments of life and finding the light of God’s presence.
What would you share as your experience? When and how have you sensed God’s presence?