Nicolas Herman never set out to be known worldwide by the Christian community. He grew up in poverty and was forced to join the army, which guaranteed him regular meals and a small income. He fought in the Thirty Years’ War and was injured. Following the war, he served for a short time as a valet and then joined the Carmelite monastery in Paris. He took the name “Lawrence of the Resurrection.”
Brother Lawrence, as his friends called him, is well known for practicing the presence of God. For most of his time in the priory, he worked in the kitchen and then, in his later years, repaired sandals. He died in 1691 in relative obscurity. However, the Christian world learned of his intimacy with God through the letters he wrote to people that sought his advice and wisdom.
Brother Lawrence truly lived his life coram Deo, which is a Latin phrase that means “in the presence of God” or “before the face of God.” To live your life coram Deo means to embrace every moment as holy knowing that you are in the presence of God and before His watchful face. It means that whatever you are doing and wherever you are doing it, you are acting under the gaze of an omnipresent God.
Living your life coram Deo will lead to divine appointments like the one Phillip experienced in Acts 8:26-40. What is a divine appointment? A divine appointment is a meeting with another person that is supernaturally and unmistakably scheduled by God. Following his ministry in Samaria that resulted in many new followers of Jesus, Phillip received the following instruction from an angel of the Lord, “Rise and go toward the south to the road that goes down from Jerusalem to Gaza” (v. 26).
Humanly speaking, this was a strange request by the angel of the Lord. Phillip’s ministry in Samaria was booming. It was just the kind of place for him to settle down, start a church, and serve as the pastor, or at least as the chairman of the deacons. But Phillip lived his life coram Deo, and the Lord had other plans for him. God needed him in some other place. A divine appointment had been set for Phillip with an Ethiopian eunuch who was traveling from Jerusalem toward Gaza.
Coram Deo results in a greater intimacy with God; it is also the way the Christian life becomes a great adventure. Live every moment in the presence of Almighty God and who knows where He will send you next.