Is God present with us? YES!

The question of the presence of God - is he here or not - has long been a fascinating topic for me. I think it's a very important question. We often assume God's presence and approval of our worship and ministries, and I wonder if that's wise. Is there evidence to support our assumption?

On the one hand, we have to say of course God is present. God is present everywhere and at all times. He can't not be present with us. Scripture is clear on the belief in God's omnipresence (Psalm 139, for example).

And yet...


Yet, there are other passages, places that make our omnipresent belief stop in puzzlement. For example, David pleaded that God not withdraw from him (Psalm 51). And in Exodus 33, Moses pleads with God to go into the land with the Israelites. He says God's presence with them is essential. And then there is the profoundly disturbing experience of Jesus on the cross.

So, on the one hand, it appears that God is everywhere and always present. That's the theological principal, at least. Still, there are times when, if he's present, our awareness of his presence, or our sensitivity to his presence is somehow hindered. It's as if God is hiding from us.

Many through the years have written in anguish of God's silence and apparent absence from them. David was the first and most notable. I used to struggle with God's silence in my life. I could find no evidence that he was anywhere near, and he seemed to have lost my address and phone number. But I have learned better.

God is indeed everywhere and always present to us. No exceptions. But we are not always sensitive to that fact. After some long struggles, one day it came to me that I was upset because of a misconception: If God said he would never leave me or forsake me, and if his lavishly abundant love is never ending, then he must be present with me. He must be.

The problem comes in my believing that he is there, even when there is no evidence that I can sense, and in my living by that belief. I need to "turn my radio on," I the words of the old gospel song, and be sensitive to God's presence, rather than charging blindly onward, through the fog, thinking I'm lost and alone.

The problem is not that God is not present. He is. The problem is that he isn't playing by my rules, and I haven't learned his rules. But his rules are consistent with reality, with truth. Mine are a sad caricature of that.

So now, when I don't sense his presence, I don't despair. I find it a little humorous, even, and say, "God, I know you're there. No use pretending with me. I know you're with me."

The focus now is not deciding if God is present with me - it's sort of presumptuous that I would make that decision, isn't it? The focus now is to learn to be sensitive to the spirits, mine and his, and to celebrate and enjoy God's companionship and friendship.

He really is here. He really does delight in being with us. And we really do miss a great and wonderful part of life by not celebrating that.

Hallelujah!

8 Comments

Hallelujah
which Holy Scripture does this word originate from?

I'm not certain I understand your question, but mostly it's from the Bible.

Hey! yes so true. I think we typically, conciously and unconciously, place the blame outside of ourselves. We like to see fault evrywhere but within. If we believe in the concept of God and become familiar with his characteristics then we know he is omnipotent, omnipresent, and true. If we believe that he is THE truth than when it comes to us not seeing, feeling, or believing in God then it must be because of us. Were always lacking. Perspective, insight, patience... the list goes on. In the places where God seem tardy or absent I would think is only because we then, in those cituations... lack.

Man how true is that. God is with us through thick and thin. We as in humans are so hard-headed that we can't see him when stuff goes wrong. truth is God is in every aspect of life for he created it. We like to play the blame game and blame someone else for the things that go on, in a everyday life. Nothing happens without God's say so, for God is all sovereign.

Hey, Larry my name is Matthew Hays, i am 16 years old and God has called me into the minstry, just wondering where is a good place to start to study.

Matthew,

Dietrich Bonhoeffer said something to the effect that when God calls someone to serve him, he calls that person to come and die. My belief is that the first task of a leader in God's kingdom is to lead him- or herself, focusing on growing as close to God -- in an intimate conversational relationship -- as possible. The leader's first duty is to come and stay as close to God as possible, and hope that a little of what God is doing in the leader will rub off on others in his or her life.

After that, read your Bible. Read, read, read. Then read good books on leadership. The kingdom needs good leaders, not more Bible technicians. You will have abundant opportunity to read the commentaries and other books as you go. But leadership is harder, and more neglected. Churches die for lack of leadership.

Finally, find someone older, with a proven ministry, someone you respect, and ask him to mentor you.

Thank you Larry, a few more questions, so what are some good leadership books? I look to my youth pastor and the pastor in my church. they are great, I have already taught my first wednesday night service a few weeks ago. The title was "What Is Your Name?" The analogy that I used was We are like a catapiller without Christ, an ugly creature, but when we accept Christ we go through metamorphis and change into a beautiful creature with a different name, just like the catapiller changing into a butterfly. The lesson was about how we have our real names, nicknames and secret names that others may not know about. And how in Christ, and only through him change our names. He can change our names from Broken to Whole, from Lost to Found, from darkness to light, from Dead to Alive, from addicted to drugs to addicted to Christ.
The 4 examples I used to show God changing peoples names forever, were: the blind beggar, Bartimaus, in the book of Matthew, how when the people were telling Bartimaus to keep quite, but he yelled out even louder, and Jesus called Bartimaus to him and said the his faith made him whole. When Jesus said that Bartimaus was able to see. So Bartimaus went from Blind Beggar to Healed Beliver.
The next person was Paul. When he was on the road to Damascaus, and Jesus came to him, at this point Paul was still Saul. Before this Saul killed Christians. So at the road of Damascaus Jesus told Saul that he was to be a vessel of God's word. So at that point God changed Saul, who was killing Christians, to Paul who is the vessel of God's word.
The third person was Jacob. It was at the river Jabboc (I think) when Jacob wrestled with God until the breaking of day. God then asked what was his name. (Throughout Jacob's life he lied about his name to get what he wanted.)God wouldn't let Jacob up until Jacob actually said it and believed it himself. After Jacob confessed God said " You will no longer be known as Jacob, but as Israel." So sometimes God has to beat our names into us.
The fourth person is someone that no one would have thought of, and his name is Lucifer. Lucifer means Light-Bearer, he was the head moncho of the angels, but he decided to rebel against God and God casted him out of Heaven. So God changed Lucifer, the Light-Bearer to Satan, Deciever. So sometimes God changes names not for the greater good. So we haven't done something that is so horrifying that God won't love us. God loves us when no one else will. God can change your name and your whole aspect of life, if you let him, into your life.

Nicely done...made me hearken back to a book I read recently "Reaching for the Invisible God" by Philip Yancey.

Yes, our G-d is ever with us...what peace there is in knowing that.

Thanks for the post, Avi

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  • Brook Hayes said:
      Nicely done...made me hearken back to a book I read recently "Reaching...
  • Matthew Hays said:
      Thank you Larry, a few more questions, so what are some good leadershi...
  • Larry Baden said:
      Matthew, Dietrich Bonhoeffer said something to the effect that when G...
  • matthew hays said:
      Hey, Larry my name is Matthew Hays, i am 16 years old and God has call...
  • Matthew Hays said:
      Man how true is that. God is with us through thick and thin. We as in ...
  • Demitria said:
      Hey! yes so true. I think we typically, conciously and unconciously, ...
  • Larry Baden said:
      I'm not certain I understand your question, but mostly it's from the B...
  • The Truth said:
      Hallelujah which Holy Scripture does this word originate from?...

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