The Power of Presence
Neil Anderson has travelled the world, speaking and teaching, and has written many books. At his side, at his back, has been his wife Joanne: they have been together for over 50 years. Now Joanne is gripped by a long...
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Neil Anderson has travelled the world, speaking and teaching, and has written many books. At his side, at his back, has been his wife Joanne: they have been together for over 50 years. Now Joanne is gripped by a long decline, sinking gradually into agitated dementia. She depends on Neil's presence, calls him Daddy. He has no training as a nurse, but now for long hours he sits at her bedside, and cares for her bodily needs. They do not speak much: conversation is a strain. So Neil has used the silent hours to pray, to spend time in God's presence, and to reflect on what this means. 'I have become keenly aware that God is using Joanne's illness to teach me about the power of presence,' he writes. 'I'm learning on a much deeper level the purpose of just being there, and what it means to be still and know that He is God. There is an inexplicable peace that comes from knowing I don't have to 'do' in order to 'be' in God's will - to be in His presence - to be in each other's presence. 'It has been a peaceful time of reflection upon the presence of God, and how that has shaped me, our marriage, and ministry.My theology tells me that God is omnipresent, but we are not always aware of His presence, and yet without His presence we are not fully alive.'
Dr. Neil T. Anderson is the founder and president emeritus of Freedom in Christ Ministries, which has offices and representatives in forty countries. Dr. Anderson has authored more than seventy books on Christ-centered living, including Discipleship Counseling and The Bondage Breaker. He was formerly chairman of the Practical Theology Department at Talbot School of Theology and has five earned degrees including two doctorates. Dr. Anderson lives in Franklin, Tennessee. For more information, see www.ficm.org.