Feeling God's presence

This is a translation of a scriptural meditation from the Russian book, “Day by Day”. Lewis connection follows:

Scripture: “In those days the word of the Lord was rare” (1 Sam: 3,1)


"There are times in the history of peoples when the glory of God is more clearly shown. Then the Kingdom of God appears in power. Then there is visible communication, as it were, between God and man; miracles and prophecies occur more frequently. Just like at the creation of the world, the light was separated from the darkness and the celestial lights began to glow, likewise the moral world is illuminated with an unearthly glow which brings wisdom and shows the proper path. But then there also often follow such times in the life of humanity when the voice of God is not heard and when His power is not shown in all its might.

"Such times are sent as great trials for our faith: for us it seems that heaven is closed, and we constantly hear the murmurs of the unbelievers, demanding signs from heaven and constantly repeating: “Where is your God?” And although in our time we do not see the immediate cure of the sick or the resurrection of the dead, the power of God is not diminished. His voice also sounds when we do not hear Him: “My Father is at His work to this very day, and I, too, am working” (John: 5, 17), says the Lord.

"What happens in the history of mankind is repeated in the lives of each of us. And in our moral world an abundant harvest is replaced by drought and famine, and our soul hungers and thirsts for the truth, and our reserves are insufficient.

"Often after ardent delights, deeply moving emotion, and spiritual joy, all of a sudden it seems to us that the Lord has withdrawn from us, that His word has grown silent, and a desperate cry arises, and we exclaim with David: “How long, o Lord, how long?” (Ps: 6, 3). Or: “Awake, Lord, rouse yourself for me” (Ps: 44, 23).

"We can understand that Jesus did not reply to Pilot’s questions, but when we call on Him with complete hope and do not receive a reply, when it seems that our Teacher is asleep, when He alone could calm the storm around us (Mk: 4, 39), this seems difficult and incomprehensible to us.

“But if the Lord does not answer us at this present moment, He will speak when His hour comes. If only we come to Him with faith and patiently wait for His reply to our prayer, we will undoubtedly receive it when we need it the most.”

The only instance I can recall when Lewis actually describes his feeling of God’s presence is in A Grief Observed, when, after initially railing against God for the pain Lewis feels after Joy’s death, he writes towards the end of his diary:

"When I lay these questions before God [about his suffering after Joy’s death] I get no answer. But a rather special sort of ‘No answer’. It is not the locked door [as it has previously seemed to Lewis]. It is more like a silent, certainly not uncompassionate, gaze. As though He shook His head not in refusal but waiving the question. Like, ‘Peace, child; you don’t understand.’ "

There have been a few instances in my life where I have directly felt God’s presence, and it does help me to recall them.


“Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. Love does not demand its own way. Love is not irritable, and it keeps no record of when it has been wronged. It is never glad about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance. Love will last forever.” (1 Corinthians 13: 4-8)