Have you noticed how depressing everything seems around you? How easy is it to have your day or your positive frame of mind ruined? If yes, one answer is to turn away from any news station or any social media platform. Immediately!
The Bible teaches us repeatedly: if we take our eyes off of God, we will descend into the depths of despair. We gain strength and hope only in dwelling in him and on his word. We build up our hope for the future—no matter how bleak things may appear at the moment—from the firm knowledge that nothing can separate us from his presence and rescuing power.
Consider what the psalmist cried out:
Where can I go from your Spirit?
Where can I flee from your presence?
If I go up to the heavens, you are there;
if I make my bed in the depths, you are there.
If I rise on the wings of the dawn,
if I settle on the far side of the sea,
even there your hand will guide me,
your right hand will hold me fast.
He had it right when he said, “If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there. If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast.”
For him, this wasn’t some abstract theological point to chat about over coffee. It was an experienced truth that God (had been) and would be there with him wherever he went. The same good news is for us. God is present with us in every danger, grief, or trial—wherever we go. Whether far away from the earth, on the planet, or deep under the sea, we will still be within the sphere of God’s presence and care.
Have you and your family been transferred overseas to a very different place and culture? Have you been abandoned or recently divorced and left with children, bills, unemployment, and all the worst of it? Are you faced with financial problems, an extended hospital stay, or your worst nightmare?
If so, the doctrine of omnipresence— the presence of God everywhere at the same time—moves from the realm of speculative theology to the realm of real, nitty-gritty life. God is like our “special recon team.” He has surveyed and gone over where we are going, knows the dangers, and provides the tools and training we need to get through our personal danger zone. So whenever we are called to step out (even way out) of our comfort zone, God is present with us and has already paved the way.
Try looking at it this way: when we’ve shown up for our first day of work somewhere across the world, walked out of the divorce court, locked into a corner of our room, or checked into the oncology ward, we can say with assurance, “God is already here. He’s been preparing the way for me, and this is the place where I will find him just as loving, trustworthy, and powerful as always.”
This new view of things makes all the difference in the world. We grow in confidence as we learn that there’s no place, not a single cubic inch in the universe, where God is not available to us. He does dwell in heaven, in a dimension that’s mostly still a mystery to us right now. But dwelling in heaven doesn’t mean that he’s out of reach, only that he’s far different from us, yet very near. Jesus teaches us that God is one whispered prayer away, inches (not light-years) away. By what Jesus accomplished on earth, immediate access to God’s inner sanctuary has been established for us forever—nothing can separate us from him.
With the apostle Paul, we can unequivocally say:
For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Theology Mix is a theology and culture blog on church life, culture, and theological debate, from Christian Apologetics and Biblical Interpretation, to church leadership development, to music, art, literature, and baseball. With contributors of all ages and theological backgrounds, Theology Mix is an open forum to discuss and debate Christianity in a myriad of angles.