Except the storage closet down the hall. Stuffy and dusty, not to mention piled to the rafters with suitcases and cardboard boxes, along with a spare mattress on the floor, it wasn't the most inviting of places.
But, many years ago, as a young Bible school student and a fairly new Christian, I was hungry to meet with God. I’d read about other people’s experiences where the presence of God would fill the room as they waited. I desired an experience that would let me know God was really real in my life. I wanted Him to talk to me. I wanted to know what He thought about me and what He wanted me to do with my life.
And, so I'd go into that closet, hoping that I'd find Him there. Yet, so often, I would come away feeling disappointed because I never had any great momentous encounter. The ceiling of that stale room never opened and angels never came down on ladders... at least not to my natural eyes and senses. I never 'felt' Him near. I used to wonder why.
And then, a couple of year ago I went through some inner healing, where I began to deal with old issues that still poked and hurt. So when the closet memory resurfaced I asked Him for an answer. I became quiet, focused my thoughts on Jesus, and tuned to the language of my heart. So God, why didn’t You come? Quick as a blink, I heard in my spirit: But I was there. Don’t you remember My Word in James 4:8? As soon as you came near to Me, I came near to you.
Of course! He'd been there all the time even when I didn't see or feel anything 'special'. When He reminded me of that promise, its reality burst upon my heart and, as the joy flooded in, the old feeling of abandonment and disappointment finally left.
On a later occasion, I asked Him why I couldn’t feel His Presence during that time. This is what I felt Him saying:
Because I was teaching you to trust my Word above all else. What you learned in the closet back in the 1970’s has been your foundation of trusting Me for the rest of your life. In this season of your life, you feel My Presence and nearness often. But when I have to hide a little for a very good reason, I know I can trust you that you won’t stop believing Me. And you have believed that when you call out to Me, I AM listening to you, My Dear One.