“Can you come over? I just need you here.” Words often spoken through tears, through pain, pleaded with desperation. Their meaning is crystal clear: I cannot be alone right now.
Life is full of moments, both good and hard. Many are beautiful and rich in laughter and celebration, but there are also moments that steal words and silence our voices – a terminal illness, tragedy, loss. Where nothing spoken or done can fix or undue or possibly make things okay, there is presence. And, those are the times when mere presence is enough.
While it cannot be held, it is deeply felt.
While it holds no value on a scale or by monetary means, it is weighty and significant
Presence is a gift that cannot be opened now or later, it must simply be received and enjoyed in the time and space in which it is offered.
By just being, presence offers comfort to the tender and hurting places. But presence is more than a gift of quiet comfort. It also provides a window into knowing others more deeply through the non-verbal language of body movements, gestures, cues – the things unsaid that can only be understood in the midst of presence.
We were wired for community, for fellowship, for intentionally lifting one another up in love and care. This is by design. Divine design. Our heavenly Father sent His Son, Jesus, to earth to pay the price for sin. Upon the Son’s ascension back to heaven our Father didn’t leave us on our own, He sent the Holy Spirit to dwell among us, in us, forever.
I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may be with you forever; that is the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it does not see Him or know Him, but you know Him because He abides with you and will be in you. (John 14:16-17)
We know God through His Word, by building a relationship through prayer and worship, and by the presence and guidance of the Holy Spirit in us. These are the ways we hear His voice, heed His instruction, and experience the fullness of joy. He knew we could never make it on our own; He knew that we would need help and guidance and comfort through all of life’s circumstances.
Words. Relationship. Presence.
The very ways we know God are the same ways we know each other.
There will be times when words and actions are appropriate, but there will also be times where mere presence will perfectly meet a need. Let’s be willing to sit in those moments where fixing is not an option, or even appropriate. Let us be the ones that show up and lean in, even when, especially when, it is uncomfortable or hard.
May we be known for our attention and care for those who are hurting, confused and weary. May we be extravagant in the giving of our presence to those around us. May we be a reflection of the lavish love that we have freely received, and, in return, freely give.
How have you been impacted by the gift of presence?