You forgot to do your homework. That worksheet you needed to do for english class is blank because when you got it the day before, you placed in the middle of the book. Because it was out of sight, you totally forgot about it until you got to class today. Now you’re frantically trying to finish it before the teacher needs to collect it.
It wasn’t in front of you, you didn’t notice it, so you forgot it was there.
Just like forgetting about your homework, it’s easy to go through life and live in the moment, not remembering God or paying any attention to his presence. Because how are we supposed to notice God’s presence, anyway? If God isn’t actively speaking to us throughout our day, it’s easy to forget that he’s there.
So where is God…?
Let’s start at the beginning… God creates the heavens and the earth. He creates all things, plants, animals, light, dark, and everything else. And then God places man and woman in a special place, a garden.
And God, man, and woman lived together in perfect community in that garden. They hung out, played games, laughed together. It was perfect!
And then sin entered the picture.
Then the man and his wife heard the sound of the LORD God as he was walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and they hid from the LORD God among the trees of the garden. 9 But the LORD God called to the man, “Where are you?” (GENESIS 3:8-9 NIV)
“Where are you?” — For the first time in all of creation, God felt a separation between himself and his creation. And because of sin, humans could no longer be in a right relationship, in perfect community with God.
And the entirety of the Old Testament is humans trying to regain a right relationship with God. But then Jesus enters the scene.
Look! The virgin will conceive a child! She will give birth to a son, and he will be called Immanuel (meaning, God is with us). (MATTHEW 1:23 NIV)
God in human form lived in community with humans for the first time since the beginning. We walked, talked, and cried with the people he was with. And he loved them more than they could know. But Jesus couldn’t say around forever, but there was a plan.
Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age. (MATTHEW 28:20, NIV)
But I tell you the truth: It is for your good that I am going away. Unless I go away, the Counselor will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you. (JOHN 16:7)
From the beginning, the plan was always to make sure God was with us. The bottom line is this: God is not absent, although he may feel absent. He never says, “I’ve got a universe to run, I get to you when I’m done… and what was your name? Never mind, I’ve got things to do.”
This is called God’s OMNIPRESENCE— God is everywhere. That means that no matter where we find ourselves or how difficult our circumstances, we can be certain that we are never alone.
And really, the reason I know that God is not absent is because he poured out his anger on his son so that we can be with him. Because John 3:16 says, “For God so loved the WOLRD that he GAVE…”
If God is simply a cosmic ruler who doesn’t have time for us, not really caring who we are or what we do, who isn’t present in our lives, I don’t believe he would have gone through the physical and emotional pain of sending Jesus to the cross. It wouldn’t make any sense. His sacrifice would be for nothing.
God is present and wants to have a conversation with us.
But in order to have a conversational relationship with God, where we can talk to God and we know how God talks to us, we have to understand God’s presence. God. Is. Present. And he’s ready to have a conversation with you.
For further study:
- Genesis 28:16 (It says that Jacob was in a “certain place,” a place so not important, it’s not worth mentioning. What does that say about God’s presence?)
- Job 42:5 (Thinking about who Job is and what he’s gone through, what is the significance of his statement?)
- Psalm 46