Many of us struggle to understand that there is a God who is present. It isn’t only those who are new to the faith, even those who have believed in Him for a long time are wrestling with it. And I am one of those.
Reading about those who have gone before us and experienced a divine presence helps. Today countless books written by people of Christian faith share their experiences of God’s presence. Let’s start with the oldest.
The Bible holds the earliest recorded accounts of God saying He is with us.
A man and his family wandering, looking for a place to call home. A nation forced from their homeland. And those who, even though have found a place of security, still struggle to believe.
Abraham’s son Isaac wandered looking for a place to establish his family. He met opposition in many locations, but finally, God made a place for him. God said to him, “Behold, I am with you and will keep you where ever you go…”
Isaiah 43: 5
The nation of Israel found themselves exiled by the Assyrians and Babylonians. Their entire world had collapsed and lay in ruins. Then God sends a message through the prophet Isaiah. It is a long message of hope, love, and encouragement which ends with, “Don’t be afraid, I’m with you. I will round up all your scattered children…”
For three years, Jesus lived with and shared God’s love with the disciples. And they abandoned him. But he knew he was not alone. “I am not abandoned. The Father is with me.” Not a doubt in his mind.
Jesus told his disciples to share the message of God’s love. He told them, “I am with you always, even to the end of the world.” He had become that divine presence, exemplified on earth.
Last week I shared something my sister said years after our father passed away.
“I thought he would always be with us.”
At ten, I felt abandoned by my father when he died. But, I welcomed my heavenly father into my life four years later. I was no longer abandoned. Since then, I have been a wanderer, but God has been my constant companion where ever I have gone. Sometimes I have been far from my homeland and family, yet God has brought me back. I have felt abandoned by those I loved and with whom I believed to have a future and a purpose. But, like Jesus, I can say, I am not abandoned. The Father is with me.
Throughout history, God has sought a relationship with mankind. A relationship of love, trust, and an awareness of his presence. One person at a time. For me, that presence has been tangible as if I could reach out and touch him. But, there have also been times where I haven’t. Through it all, I know, he is with me. Whether or not I can feel it.
Have you had times in your life when you have felt God’s presence? Please leave a comment and tell me about it.
Next time…What’s in a name.