“For I am the Lord thy God . . . and I have loved thee. . . . Fear not: for I am with thee" (Isaiah 43:3-5).
The Old Testament stories of Abraham, Joshua and all of Israel are meant to encourage and exhort us to seek God’s presence in our lives. We can thank God for what His presence did for them and yet each of us has a powerful testimony of what God's presence has done for us: guiding our lives, opening doors, moving obstacles, melting hearts, making us fearless.
I have seen this proven true in my life. You may say, "You're just boasting!" No, the fact is, God's presence has been with me in spite of myself!
When we started Times Square Church in New York City, the presence of Christ emanated from us in all we did. I remember walking into a famous Broadway producer's office in search of a theater to use as a church. This man's secretary and staff scoffed at me; their words and attitudes assured me, a lowly minister, I would not be able to get an appointment. In fact, I thought I might even get kicked out. But then the producer came out of his office and when he saw me, he invited me in!
Over the next several weeks, the producer and I got to know each other. At times he would look across his desk at me and say, "I don't know why I'm spending so much time with you. My schedule is absolutely full." But whenever I walked into his office suite, his secretary pushed me past all other visitors, saying, "Go right in, Reverend, he's waiting for you!"
Eventually, this man sold his flagship theater to us to use for Times Square Church. Even as he was signing the documents of sale, he said, "I don't know why I'm doing this!" It was only God's presence that moved him to sell that building to us. Just a few years after the deal was done, he and his attorneys were begging to buy it back!
I saw God change the hearts of others as well. The man who owned the building next to ours refused to sell it to us as an annex. But over time he became a friend of mine, and eventually he sold us the building. All along, he kept telling me, "Somebody up there is working for you!"
That is the power of the presence of God. And every Christian can testify in the same way: "God's presence with me has done great things!"