” . . . I Walk In The Presence . . .”

“The Lord saved me from death;
    he stopped my tears
    and kept me from defeat.
And so I walk in the presence of the Lord

    in the world of the living.” (Psalm 116: 8-9)

As we were descending from the clouds a couple of weeks ago, making our approach into Chicago, I looked out the window and noticed that the clouds were leaving their shadows on the surface of Lake Michigan.  It struck me a little odd (as many things do) to be above the cloud’s shadows instead of living under the presence of the cloud’s shadows.

Hmm . . . presence . . . ?

The cloud and the psalmist started me thinking about whose or what’s presence I live in or under, and what impact that has upon my life.  Because of the actions of the Lord, the psalmist says he lives in the presence of the Lord in the world of the living instead of the land of death.  That’s putting things pretty succinctly.  Whose or what’s presence we spend time living under can make the difference between life and death.

It occurs to me that this is not a new or unique idea of mine.  Our parents have told us for years that who we hang out with makes a big difference in our lives.  Those of us who work with folks trying to recover from devastating addictions always tell the recovering souls not to hang out with those who used the drugs with them in the past.  It’s not a new idea that our lives are sorely influenced by whose or what’s presence we live under, but it is a thought that I feel needs mentioning in our current cultural and political climate.

Do you ever stop to ask yourself whose or what’s presence you’re living under?  Is it the presence of anger, guilt, greed, bad memories, fear, or disgust maybe embodied by the rhetoric of some that overshadows and influences you, or is it the hope, peace, love, mercy, compassion, and call to justice from the presence of the Lord that overshadows you?  Where do you choose to spend your time and energy?  Under whose or what’s presence do you choose to live?  I pray that God will challenge me to awareness so I might choose to live under the shadow of the presence of the Lord.  How about you?

Blessings and Peace,


Pastor, Cross Lanes United Methodist Church

Cross Lanes, West Virginia

Help save lives! For more information on my book, “A Relentless Hope: Surviving the Storm of Teen Depression,” visit

My other book, “Wednesday Wonderings: Spiritual Journaling Through a Lens” is available at and


~ by revgenelson on March 9, 2016.

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