Psalm 139:7 Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence? 8 If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there. 9 If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea,10 even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast. 11 If I say, “Surely the darkness will hide me and the light become night around me,” 12 even the darkness will not be dark to you; the night will shine like the day, for darkness is as light to you.
I remember the day I received a call from the Church of God Missionary Board, asking me if I would consider missions work in the Middle East. There was an opening for a fifth-grade teacher at an English-speaking school on the island of Cyprus in the Mediterranean. The Gulf War had recently ended. It didn’t seem like the safest place for a single, 22-year-old girl to be. However, as I prayed about it and expressed my anxiety about it being number one, far from home and two, in the seemingly turbulent Middle East, it was as if I heard God audibly say, “Do you not think I will be with you there just as I am here in the U.S.?” In an instant, I knew I had to go. I believed I would be safer in the Middle East, inside the will of God, than I would be if I stayed home and was disobedient. The God who was with me in Indiana, where I was living at the time, would be with me on in the Middle East. And He was. How thankful I am for those two life-changing years where I grew to appreciate God and deepened my relationship with God beyond what I could have thought possible at the time.
David, the guy who was in awe of the fact that God’s hand was in his life, Psalm 139:5, in spite of who he was, went on to deeply appreciate the fact that God was always with him. He drew some contrasts in verses 8-12. He spoke about the heavens and the depths of the earth and about how God was in both places. He talked about being on the wings of dawn, wherever the sunrise might be located from wherever he was at that moment, and he talked about the complete opposite location as he referenced the far side of the sea. God was in both places. He spoke of both darkness and light, and how God would be wherever he was, no matter what time of day it was. God is everywhere. He is omnipresent.
We can acknowledge God’s presence, or we can try to ignore it, but we can’t change that wherever we go, there God is.
God isn’t just there, like in that He is in the room, but He is there with us to make a difference for us.
In the Middle Ages, Christian theologians had a saying that went like this: “God’s center is everywhere; God’s circumference nowhere.” In other words, He is just as much present in any place as He is any other place. Nowhere do you find a limitation on the presence of God. God’s presence and availability aren’t the problem. The issue is our awareness and acknowledgement of God’s presence in every place and circumstance.
God is always present with us, but we are always present with Him?
Do we live with a God-consciousness? Do we live with an awareness of His presence? Are we looking for Him, or are we trying to avoid Him? Where are our eyes focused? On the things of the world or the things of God? There is an awesome Bible story in II Kings 6 about this very thing. We read there how these mighty armies of Aram had surrounded God’s people with horses and chariots during the night. The next morning, this guy, a servant of Elisha the Prophet, when he woke up and saw the army with horses and chariots, and that they had surrounded the city, he panicked. He asked Elisha what they were going to do. And this was the reply from Elisha in II Kings 6:1, “Don’t be afraid. Those who are with us are more than those who are with them.” It didn’t appear that way to the servant. From where he stood, they were surrounded. They were outnumbered. They were doomed.
But verse 17 says Elisha prayed that the eyes of his servant would be opened so that he could see how God was there with them. The Lord opened the servant’s eyes, and he looked and saw the hills full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha. God was absolutely present. God was with Elisha in that situation and had given him the ability to see that there was no reason to panic. Elisha had the ability to see God and to see how God was at work to protect and help them, but the servant had to have his eyes opened to the presence of God.
We need our spiritual eyes opened to be able to see God in our midst, see God here to rescued. We need to see and be focused on the presence of God, but often we are focused on our problems instead of God’s presence. Often, we are focused on our enemy instead of God’s presence. It is the acknowledgement of God’s presence that will make a positive difference in any circumstance. Hebrews 13:5 tells us that God will never leave us or forsake us. God can’t leave us because He is always everywhere. The fact that God is omnipresent means you and I are never alone.
God is even there whether you can see Him at work or not. Pray today that your spiritual eyes will be opened.
I’m involved with some people whose family life it tumultuous. There are mental challenges. Physical challenges. Addiction challenges. Demonic strongholds. Legal issues. Several interactions with Law Enforcement. Jail. Malpractice. Hospitalizations. Relational trauma. Stress beyond anything I could comprehend. Every day is a battle, and the intensity of this complicated situation has been going on for years. If I were to describe the situation to you, you would be overwhelmed in the first two minutes of what could take an entire day to communicate. I have never seen such suffering in my life. Answers seem beyond reach. Yet, I got a text this week from someone in the family that read: “We’re still in turmoil, but for the past several days, little by little, I’ve felt God’s presence and have experienced being able to have moments of being able to not borrow troubles from tomorrow which brings some peace. For me, that’s a major gift.”
The only way she could make such a claim is because God is with her. Could you take a moment to acknowledge the God who is there, and let Him be there for you in your situation.