The Power of His Presence 

Mesu Andrews Featured Articles 12 Comments

Whew! I’ve made it through the busiest spring schedule in years! The Pharaoh’s Daughter release, retreats, book signings, radio interviews and my first TV appearance—say it with me, D.O.N.E. Thanks to those of you who stormed the heavens with your prayers on my behalf. Our God answered powerfully. I know of one woman who gave her life to Jesus at a retreat and many others who were renewed by His presence.

The Encounter

05-08-15--Cannon Beach RetreatTwo weeks ago, I attended our church’s women’s retreat. It was the first time I didn’t have leadership responsibilities at a ladies’ retreat I was attending. I went to relax, to spend time with my two roommates, and to enjoy a couple of days at the beach.

God had different plans for my weekend.

On Friday night, our speaker, Rita Nussli, defined two words that sort of rocked my world:

  • Transparency – sharing honestly something that is resolved.
  • Vulnerability – sharing honestly something you’re still working out.

It’s never been hard for me to be transparent. I can tell y’all everything the Lord has DONE in me, but to be vulnerable is next to impossible—even with my closest friends. My life changed radically when my health plummeted in 2002, and since then I’ve walled-off my heart, confiding my inner turmoil to very few.

The “Old Mesu”

As I sat in that room full of women, I knew only one beyond a “Hi! How are you,”—and I’ve attended this church for five years. The “old Mesu” would have known everyone’s name, their kids’ names, and shoe sizes!

The “old Mesu” would have come to the retreat seeking an intimate encounter with Jesus, not just a romp at the beach. A few weeks before the retreat, I’d recognized my relationship with the Lord was dry and distant, and I’d emailed my prayer team with the request for a breakthrough—that the Lord would restore that intimacy I longed for and once had.

Later in Rita’s talk, she gave us three opportunities to read this Scripture from the Message:

[Jesus said,] “Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.”     Matthew 11:28-30 (emphasis added)

That phrase, “recover your life,” kept popping off the page. I had come away to the beach. Now, I would walk with Him and work with Him to recover my life…that intimacy I once had with Him and others.

Silent Solitude

During Saturday morning’s session, Rita asked a question:

What does God think or feel when He looks at me?

She then dismissed us to spend an hour of silent solitude on the beach—no technology of any kind. No music, no cell phones, nothing except me and Jesus. I cheated and took my Bible and a notebook.

I pondered Rita’s question, asking the Lord how He felt when He thought of me. All that came to mind was…sadness. He wasn’t angry or judgmental, but sad at the emptiness I was feeling. The hour raced by as the Lord revealed what had drained me of intimacy:

“Your life is so full of the urgent, putting out fires and maintaining relationships with ‘just enough,’ that there’s no time for the deep and hidden mysteries of true friendship and that inner fellowship with Me in the secret place. You’re an empty shell with a cracked façade. Only I can fill and restore you. Take every thought captive. Be more intentional. Plan.”

His Presence Alone

There on the beach, I tried to find the Scripture for taking every thought captive. But as I frantically thumbed through God’s Word, I felt the gentle nudge of the Spirit stilling my hands. This wasn’t about finding a Scripture to apply like a Band-Aid. This was about listening in His Presence.

For years, I’ve made my quiet time about reading my Bible. I listen only through God’s written Word. Why don’t I trust His Holy Spirit enough to be silent in His Presence? Without an open Bible. Without pen and paper—or a computer. Just sit in silence. And wait.

Scary, huh?

“The Lord is in his holy temple; let all the earth be silent before him.”        Habakkuk 2:20

This has become my new discipline, to wait quietly in His presence and listen before opening my Bible or lifting a pen in my hand. How long do I wait and listen? That’s up to Him.

Next Week

Over the next few weeks, we’ll talk more about what I learned on this retreat and the changes the Lord is working through it. I hope you’ll come back next week as we look at Spiritual ADD—How To Deal With Wandering Thoughts In Silent Solitude.


Today’s Questions:

  • What about today’s post was intriguing to you? What was challenging for you?

Comments 12

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  1. This – probably – Hits all of us squarely in the heart. This is probably the REMEDY to all our busyness and tough situations. But it works when we do it. He is there. He loves on us first and then answers questions for us – sometimes – that we haven’t even put into words. And His Presence is the ultimate problem solver.

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      I think that’s been my biggest discovery in the silence…His answer to questions I didn’t know I had. It’s astounding the way He speaks to and settles my heart on issues I didn’t know were weighing me down. This journey is exciting and life-giving for sure!

  2. The way the scripture in The Message is stated is one I had not thought about. I have read it in the King James and other translations but this one seems the best I have ever seen or heard. I’ve heard many sermons on letting Jesus give you rest and His burden is light but that was fantastic. I need to get my copy of The Message out and read some more. Thanks for sharing this post Mesu. You have made me stop and think about how dry my own journey has been lately.

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      Isn’t it amazing how reading the same Scripture in a different version will make it come alive in a different way? I love that we are so blessed to have God’s Word spoken in so many ways. Glad this one ministered to you, dear one!

  3. Thank you for these words. They came at a time that I really needed them with my brother-in-law in the hospital and my husband and I babysitting his dog. It has given me a new meaning of just sitting quietly and waiting for God to tell me what he wants me to do next. God Bless You! Glad you got what you were looking for at your retreat. You are the best!

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      Oh, dear one, I pray the Lord will strengthen you for the days ahead. I’m sorry to hear about your brother, but I pray the Lord will continue to be very near as you minister to him…and his dog. 😉

  4. Wow. This was what I needed to hear. I, too, most days pick up my Bible and read without just being silent before the Lord and waiting for His direction. Thank you.

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  5. Funny how God works, isn’t it? I have such a hard time sitting quietly before him, and in his grace he meets me right where I am at times – usually when I’m working. He will start downloading things to me when I’m trying to concentrate on working and I know I need to stop and listen. Do I? Honestly, not all the time – but I’m learning to listen. When I TRY to sit quietly and wait for him, for his voice – frequently I get NOTHING!!! Maybe a test?

    Thank you for your openness in sharing your struggle – it enables US to admit we struggle in the same way and seek the Lord for revelation for our own lives.

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      And thanks, Kari, for sharing your struggle with such honesty. I LOVE how He speaks to each of us differently–like talking to you at work. We’re all wired so differently, and since He’s the One who knit us together, He knows exactly how and when to reach us uniquely. Thanks again for that reminder! 😉

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