GOD'S PRESENCE IN EVERYDAY LIFE Based on Acts 17:22-31By Pastor Glenn PeaseAn atheist and a Christian were debating the value of prayer, and the atheistsaid, "I never pray." The Christian said, "But you must have prayed at sometimein your life." "Yes," he admitted. "I did pray once. I was on a hunting trip in theYukon and got separated from my party. A blizzard came up, and I became snowblind as I wondered about, and then I was also starving and cold. I finally fell onmy knees and asked God for help." "Well," said the Christian, "it looks like yougot it." "Got it nothing" he responded, "if an Indian guide hadn't come along justthen I would have died."Here was a man who was experiencing the absence of God in the very presenceof God's grace and loving kindness. Unfortunately, this is an experience not limitedto atheist and unbelievers. Even God's own people can have all kinds of misconceptions that blind them to the presence of God. The Jewish leaders hadtheir own ideas about what the Messiah would be like, and so, even in the presenceof the Messiah they experienced His absence, and they rejected Him. Christ wasobjectively there in their presence, but they were not subjectively aware of Hispresence.How often does Christ come unto His own, and His own receive Him not?Multiplied millions of times, I am sure. Theologically Jesus is always present withus, but practically we experience His absence because we are not aware of thatpresence. He promised He would never leave us nor forsake us, but we need tobecome aware of His being ever present. This is what Paul was doing on Mars Hillas he tried to make the Athenians aware of the presence of God. They worshippedan unknown god. A god that seemed far away, and they only had an obscureawareness of this absent god. Paul's message was to help them become aware thatGod is not far away at all, but very near, and that in fact, they lived and moved andhad their being in Him.We are not unlike these Athenians, and part of our problem is that we need to beup a tree and out on a limb like Zaccheaus before we become aware of the presenceof Christ. We get conditioned by dramatic stories to think that the only time to seekChrist's presence is in a crisis. We read of Daniel in the lion's den; the three friendsin the fiery furnace, and Paul and Silas in the dungeon, all experiencing thepresence of Christ in great power, and we think this will come in handy if I ever getstuck in a hopeless situation. But what we really need is an awareness of Hispresence in the common place every day events of life. The crisis is rare, and if weonly want to be aware of Christ in a crisis, we put Him in the same category as aninsurance policy. We only need to think of Him when something goes radicallywrong. This is a very superficial concept of who Jesus is as Savior and Lord, and iteliminates Him altogether from the role of companion, guide, and friend.