It is awesome to realise that one brief moment in the presence of God can so impact your entire life that you are never the same again.
Twenty-eight years ago I turned the television on and watched Billy Graham preach to thousands of people in one of his crusades.
I can’t explain the feeling I had that night, but for the first time in my life, I knew God was real.
I was in awe of His great love and realised my need for Him in my life. Although I didn’t physically see God or audibly hear Him, I knew I was in His presence as I reached out, I was instantly transformed as I asked Jesus into my life.
The Word of God is full of testimonies of lives that were dramatically transformed by being in God’s presence. My favourite is in chapter six of the book of Isaiah which records Isaiah’s call to the ministry after seeing a spectacular vision of the Lord sitting upon His throne in all His glory. It changed his life forever (see Isaiah 6:1-8).
The account of Isaiah’s vision begins with the phrase “In the year king Uzziah died….” This was not just a casual introductory phrase, nor intended to simply give the approximate date of his vision. It reminded him and his people of the uncertainty that prevailed during that period of time.
Up until this point, Isaiah had known only one occupant to the throne of his people. That man, King Uzziah, had taken the throne at the age of 16 and reigned for 52 years (2 Chron. 26).
As soon as he took the throne, he set himself to seek God, which began a period of remarkable prosperity. He waged war with the enemies of God and regained lost territory. However, in the last stage of his life, he was lifted up in pride and died of leprosy.
Suddenly the throne was empty! The terrible news travelled quickly from house to house, village to village, and hopelessness grew as the people questioned the future of their nation. What would happen to their lives?
With a history of notorious kings that had plunged them into sin, it is understandable why the people were concerned about the man that would succeed the king and fill the throne. This was Isaiah’s motivation to seek God’s face and intercede for His nation.
During these precious moments in the presence of God, Isaiah’s life was totally transformed.
Isaiah’s vision of a filled throne brought strong encouragement and hope during a time of uncertainty and despair. While beholding the awesome glory of the Lord, Isaiah was compelled to worship God, repentance toward God and service for God.
The Apostle Paul never forgot that moment on the Damascus Road when he was knocked off his donkey. In an instant, Paul was changed from a persecutor of the Church into a persecutor of Satan.
He told King Agrippa about his heavenly vision and call to preach the Gospel, he said,
…I was not disobedient unto the heavenly vision: but shewed first unto them of Damascus, and at Jerusalem, and throughout all the coasts of Judea, and then to the Gentiles, that they should repent and turn to God, and do works meet for repentance.
He was transformed by God’s presence. Paul persevered to finish the race that was set before him. At the end of his life of service to God, he could confidently say,
I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith
(2 Tim. 4:7)
God desires to reveal Himself to all who will seek Him with their whole heart. Draw near to the Lord today in prayer and He will draw near to you (James 4:8). I must warn you though, one moment in the presence of God will spoil you and transform your life forever.
You won’t be satisfied with empty religion. You will hunger for more and your desire will be to serve Him continually. You may even respond to the Lord the way Isaiah and countless others have: “Here am I; send me.”