The Sweet Spot of His Presence

10:32am, Wawee Coffee, Chiang Mai

I decided to go for a walk around town to get to know my surroundings a little better. Now I’m sitting at the local Starbucks-equivalent, Wawee Coffee, just minutes from where I’m sitting sipping my Earl Grey tea next to a lovely view of the Ping River. Now that is a little different than the coffee shops back home. πŸ˜‰

I’m laughing a little at myself for my half-tourist, half local feeling here. I’ve got my camera strapped about my person, with pretty magenta, embroidered blouse, loose fitting cargo pants, and comfy sandals. But for those who know me well, the camera bit is not touristy at all! Just my photographer’s heart in action. πŸ˜‰ What is also cracking me up right now is how the barista gave me a picture menu because I was standing there a while before ordering. Of course, he didn’t realize that it wasn’t a language difficulty I was having, but just trouble deciding between a cappuccino and a good ol’ cup of Earl Grey. “Kob khun ka,” I said while graciously taking the menu. Comedy. =)

It has been so nice to relax a little more and just have an ordinary day. Now, being in Chiang Mai is a little different, but it’s so cool to see how at home I can feel no matter where I am. So I sip away and write, as the bustle of a coffee shop and sweet melodies offer a familiar and comfortable backdrop. Though I plan to retreat outside to the calmer river front soon. πŸ˜‰

Well, my traveling companions are back in Bangkok, awaiting flights back to China, and I am left here to be alone with Jesus. I love how being alone doesn’t really mean being alone. I sense His quiet presence near, and it feels so good to just be on this (for me) Sunday morning. The day promises to be filled with learning to cook Thai food from scratch and catching an early evening English service just a few minutes from where I am now. Then perhaps off to the night bazaar for some more food and strolling about.

If there’s one thing that going out at home alone and then living alone has taught me, it’s the beauty of savoring each moment alone of the day to go out with the Savior. He has so many good gifts to bestow on His children and makes the best companion one could ever spend time with. This moment is so full of His peace and presence that I don’t want to leave! Praise God He goes with me wherever I am so that I don’t have to leave the sweet spot of this place.

I guess this post may not seem to me the most insightful, but I just feel the need to document the moment, no matter how ordinary though unordinary it seems. =) The thing is that God is so faithful, not only in providing financially, but also in the overwhelming beauty of His presence that gives so freely. It is indeed an art as Brother Lawrence wrote several hundred years ago to practice His presence, but friends, once we start — a few minutes here, an hour there, an afternoon walk another time, a day out exploring together — we develop a stronger sense of His nearness, knowledge of His goodness, and the lovely awareness that truly we are never alone. His sweet, quiet whispers make for the deepest, richest conversations. His gifts in response to the smallest prayer offered from within as we turn our hearts to Him in whatever we are doing…simply priceless and frought with meaning.

What a delight it is to follow our Lord! And what I describe to you is not something to be experienced by a select few. He means to walk closely with all of us throughout the day. He’s always right there near you, waiting for you. As Isaiah 30:18 says, “The Lord longs to be gracious to you, and therefore He waits on high to have compassion on you. For the Lord is a God of justice; how blessed are all those who wait on Him.” (emphasis mine)

It’s not something that happens overnight. It’s so easy to run away from quiet and solitude thinking we need busyness or activity instead! No, it’s like a muscle you slowly build, simply turning yourself to the Lord and asking Him to meet you wherever you are: at work, on the freeway, in the shower, in line at Sprouts, on a run, wherever. and you’ll see how He does the most amazing things with so small an offering. That’s because He’s an amazing God who is incredibly good and cares so deeply for us. That is the truth of who God is. And as we spend time in His presence, we are transformed to be more and more like Him, radiating His beauty to others, and are filled with the power and ability by His Spirit that we need to walk in the plans He has for us. Our other relationships also blossom as a result, becoming that much more rich because He loves His children to be in community with one another and to reach out to those who do not know His name. We only need keep our focus on Him and seek Him first in everything.

Well, I guess this post had a point after all. πŸ˜‰ I love it. Here’s to more days in the sweet spot of His presence!

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