Earlier this week I reported for jury duty. And yes, I know the joke, “I wouldn’t want anyone on my jury, who didn’t know how to get out of jury duty.” But despite being somewhat of an inconvenience I was happy to fulfill my civic duty and vowed to do the very best I could, should I be selected to sit on a jury.
I was not selected to sit on a jury. They do a computerized random selection process and my number did not come up to even be interviewed. As the other non-selectees were leaving, I overheard several say how it had been a waste of a day.
Admittedly, when I received my summons and prepared to report I was basically in that mindset. However, a judge addressed us earlier in the morning and somethings he said had a profound impact on me. He said just the presence of the 240 of us showing up and coming through that door had already made a huge impact on the judicial system. He explained that the attorneys and involved parties were aware of just our presence and they had no idea what each of us potential jurors were bringing through that door. He stated that about 90 percent of all cases are settled out of trial the morning the jurors walk through the door—that is impact! Incidentally, there were three cases on the docket when we walked through the door—only one went to trial…the other two were settled.
This experience reminded me how powerful of an impact presence can be—both positively and negatively. Each of us possess the powerful impact of presence on others and I contend in today’s world that extends to our presence on social media. I will never be the fastest man in a marathon, nor the smartest person in the room, or the wisest on a Facebook discussion, but one thing I do have is my presence. My attitude, behavior, and treatment of others determines if my presence is a good thing or bad. I am good with that!
One of the reasons I love to read the Bible is that from cover to cover I get to experience God’s presence in my life! He reveals himself to me through the accounts of others and how His presence impacted their lives. He assures me He is with me even when I feel like I am “walking through the valley of the shadow of death” (Psalm 23). He reminds to “not fear” (Isaiah 41:10) because He will strengthen me because of His presence.
I remember times in my life when I when I was not walking closely with the Lord when I felt lonely, felt I was facing unbeatable forces, and when I was living in fear. While I still face those challenges of life (as we all do) the power of the presence of God has made the difference in my attitude and behavior in facing those challenges and I can assure you it brings me great peace and comfort and confidence. I often think of Jacob and the promise God made to him and to you and me:
Genesis 28:15 “Behold, I am with you and will keep you wherever you go and will bring you back to this land. For I will not leave you until I have done what I have promised you.”
That is the Power of Presence!