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PRACTICING THE PRESENCE OF GOD

C G Westerlund
Magazine : Mother of All
Language : English
Volume Number : 18
Month : July
Issue Number : 3
Year : 2019

Gordon has been a Friend of Peace Pilgrim for eleven years, sending books to prisoners, to India and giving them to many others. He was employed as a security guard on a college campus for thirteen years. The students gave him an award two years in a row for the most beneficial staff member. He was recently interviewed by Brent Woods for The “Westmont Horizon”:

What I like most about my job is the people and the atmosphere. To me it’s kind of like sacred ground up here, this is a holy place, a spiritual place. It is in the stillness and quietness that one becomes aware of the presence. I’m a little like Mother Teresa. I like to see God in everyone. She sees Him in the leper, she sees Christ in the people she serves. And I like to see Christ in the people on campus, all the students, faculty and staff.

To me, there is not an inch in this universe where the Highest is not. I mean, God is omnipresent in every inch of space, in every particle, there is not an atom that the fullness of God is not in. That’s why I get along with the students. What you give out you get back. You learn to see the good in them, the divine in them.

It has taken a lot to get rid of the ego. I asked a person in India, “How do I get rid of the ego?” She wrote, “It’s not by thinking of the ego that you get rid of it. Put your mind on God and ego will take care of itself.” It rang a bell; it seemed from then on I had God’s blessing day and night my mind went on God.

I lived in a high crime rate area right after Martin Luther King passed away. I knew that God is in everyone. There is not a spot where God is not. I found that to be very true. I lived in a Negro section at that time and worked on the graveyard shift. There were very few white people in that area; I was in their territory. The Black Panthers said that any white man seen after dark would be shot. But I walked by their area in the middle of the night for about three and a half years. In the three blocks where I walked, I counted seven lives taken in those years. But I left my doors unlocked most of the time. I had given everything over to Christ already.

It was only about a half a dozen times that guys came into my place. Most of the time I was there, and they would take off. I would come home and the place would be ransacked, but I thought it was no loss whatsoever because everything belonged to God. There is a verse in Job that says the Lord giveth and the Lord taketh away and blessed be His name. So I thought, “The Lord has come in the form of these persons and He has taken away.”

They had fun doing that, and I had fun cleaning up. I had suffered no loss whatsoever, just joy the whole time, even though I walked through the area and was held up a number of times. When I was hit over the head and knocked to the ground, I would get up and say, “I have nothing against you guys.” Every one of them, except for the last person, would come back and apologize that they had roughed me up. They paid me back fully and their lives were changed. So, it was learning to see God in everyone.

In the 3 1/2 years that I walked through there to get to work I would usually leave about 3 in the afternoon and get back about 3 or 4 in the morning and I would walk through the alley ways. It was about a seven mile walk total, but it was learning to see God. I would have never known that God is controlling the black people and the white people. He is all controlling. There is no power but of God (Romans 13:1). I would have never known that unless I had spent those 3 1/2 years just being aware of His presence. I said, “Lord, what do you want me to do?” and He spoke to my heart as if God’s will was to go through the area, to start walking instead of driving because the buses weren’t allowed in the area. The police were afraid to go through the area. This was in Portland, Oregon in the heart of the black section. I taught the black people there.

I’d be walking home and the black people themselves would stop me and would say, “Get in the car! Your life is in danger. You don’t know my people. Get in the car!” I would get a ride home. They wanted to protect me. Actually, I was only held up once every three months. No matter what happened, I would say, “Oh Lord, is this it or not?” It was a dying of my ego during that time because there were times that I didn’t want to walk home. Then I would pray to the Lord saying, “What you want done, not what I want. If you want me to go through the area. live or die, sink or swim, I’ll do whatever you want me to do.” It was a breaking down of what I wanted to do and saying, “Okay, Lord, your will be done.”

It was truly glorious. It became like heaven walking through the dark alley. If I saw someone they would kind of freeze, seeing a white man. So I began to feel God’s presence in the bushes and shrubs around. It was like I would wait on Him, kind of like a dog with instinct: “Go down that path. Go down this one.”

One time, I was walking down the street. It was during the daytime, going to work, and the Lord spoke to my heart and said, “There-is-a-bus-behind you-. Get on the bus.” Later, I learned that my life could have been taken. Many times my life was mapped out to be taken, but it was like I was in God’s hand. He protected me; I was doing what He wanted me to do. So it was kind of like dying of myself and what I wanted, saying, “Lord, your will be done in my life and in my heart.” It was a learning experience. It was great! I was just practicing the presence.

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