The Greatness of God: Part 3
Last week you received a more unique blog about Lewis and God’s Greatness as I traveled to Alaska on a cruise with my son and sweet granddaughter. While I was away from my normal routine of writing, exercising, coffee with friends, golfing with my husband and working around the house, I realized that my great God is with me where ever I might travel or if I am home in my normal everyday life.
A few weeks ago, we learned about God’s omniscience and how he knows all things at all times, so this week, let’s look at his omnipresence and how He is everywhere in every place and at every time. Even though we are not able to actually see Him, we know he is with us because we can see that his power and knowledge are everywhere. If He has exhaustive knowledge of everything his power has brought to pass, then certainly he is not absent, but present in each event, though his presence is not quite the same as the presence of physical beings.
While looking off the bow of a large cruise ship into the orange light rising into the clouds from the horizon, sipping my coffee, while wrapped in a wool blanket, I could easily see God’s glory. It shined with a magnificence that was hard to look away from. It controlled the horizon with its glowing light and lit the clouds to a magnificent red and the water to an unnatural purple. I knew, without a doubt, that God was there at that time. And, the really awesome thing about it was that my husband at home was able to see God in that sunrise as well. He may not have seen the unusual colors that I saw because of the surroundings, but surely, he was able to see it in new and different colors in his current place in time.
As I watched my granddaughter don a heavy elastic spray skirt and a buoyant life vest, while covered in a long rain coat, fuzzy beanie, 3 pairs of leggings and boots, I also was able to see God’s greatness in that barn as she prepared for sea kayaking. He was there preparing us for an adventure. He was there considering our safety. He was there preparing us for sights we had never seen and helping relieve our anxiety about the possibility of coming face to face with a whale at eye level.
All of this beauty I was experiencing brough to thought Psalm 139. It says,
“Where can I go to escape Your Spirit?
Where can I flee from Your presence?
If I ascend to the heavens, You are there;
if I make my bed in Sheol, You are there.
If I rise on the wings of the dawn,
if I settle by the farthest sea,”
This scripture indicates that He is in every place; there is nowhere you can flee from him. This is His omnipresence. You can cruise Alaska, He is there. You can sit in a hospital room waiting for surgery to remove your cancer, He is there. You can lay at the bottom of a ladder with a crushed foot, waiting for an ambulance and He is there. You can stand on a beach saying, “I Do!” to the love of your life, He is there. While He is there, he is sharing in your happiness, your anger, your sadness, your frustration, your joy. Because He knows all, he is with you always. He knows these feelings and events even before they happen and he is there with you in all of the circumstances. At the same time, though, He is with everyone else who has put their faith in him, being part of all of their adventures, hurts, and joys.
Our God is the creator of heaven and earth, so he is present in every location. He is also present in every time because he is the creator of the beginning and the end. (Revelation 1:8) Because He created the earth and has been here since the beginning, there will never be a time when he will be absent from your home, your work place, your hospital bed. What a glorious revelation to know that our Mighty God of Grace will never leave our side, that’s how much he loves us. In fact, because He loved us so much, he came to the earth and made himself human so that he could stand among us and bring to us great news and redemption. He came to stand on this earth, walk where you walked, experience what you experience, in order that he could speak to you personally about what you are going through. There is nothing you are going through that he hasn’t already gone through. And, because of His willingness to be here and have our experiences, you can bet he will be by your side, healing, forgiving, bringing peace and joy, helping you through it all.
So, why is it that we don’t always feel, or can’t always feel God’s presence? Why does He sometimes feel so very far away when we really need him to be close, holding our hand? It’s easy to feel this way when we get caught in a difficult situation, a health scare, the loss of a loved one, or maybe just when we are overwhelmed and life is chaotic. We can often drift away from the closeness of God simply because our routine is disrupted. It doesn’t mean He isn’t still near; it simply means we need to refocus our energies and begin to pull ourselves closer to him. The work is in our hands, knowing now that He is always there, we just need to take some steps to be sure we are open to seeing, hearing, and feeling His presence.
God has provided us all the ways to stay close to Him. Let’s begin to discover those ways.
1. Carving out time.
Because we know God is always near, we can experience him at any time or place. The trick is finding time. Do you really need to have a set time? I don’t believe so. God wants us to be in a relationship with Him at all times. We can talk to Him all day, every day. His Holy Spirit is always near and if we are open to hearing from Him, he will let you know what He wants to talk about. I love to move through my day and find God asking me to text a certain person, or the little niggling that says, “Ask God for help with that.” We can talk to Him at any time we want or need to. But I do find that carving out a specific time to sit with God is a very necessary thing. When I take time to do this, I know that my thoughts and feelings are totally focused on Him and less likely to be distracted. Your time with Him is always a time that is best for you and it can differ each day. The point is, though, to find time to be just with Him. This time is to be able to thank Him, ask him questions, pray for help, pray for others, journal. This is your God time; you can use it as you see fit and what is most comfortable for you. But, it is a time for just Him and you.
2. Say His Name
There have been so many times in my life when I am going through something and I really need the support of my Savior. When I went through both cancer diagnosis and treatment, I needed Him desperately. So many times, during these days, though, I just didn’t know how to pray any more. I felt like I had asked for everything, prayed my heart out. What comforted me the most was simply just saying, “Jesus”. His name is all we need because he already knows what we haven’t said, or have said, or need, or are feeling. Act 3:16 shows that just the name of Jesus can heal a man. It says, “By faith in his name, his name has made this man strong, whom you see and know. So the faith that comes through Jesus has given him this perfect health in front of all of you.” Simply having faith in Jesus Christ and saying his name will draw you closer to him and feel his presence in any circumstance. Practice saying His name and you will feel him near you.
3. Praise Him and Give Him Thanks
1 Thessalonians 5:18 helps us see that there is always something to give thanks for. It reads, “In everything give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.” Even in our darkest times, there is something to give thanks for. Looking for, naming, writing down, all the situations and items to be thankful for will certainly draw you closer to God. If you have professed your faith in God, he will be able to show each and everything you can be thankful for. Even if it is simply your grass, long and ungroomed, for you have a place to enjoy a sunny day. Your laundry, piled and stinky, for you have clothes on your back. A bald head, hair dead from effects of chemo, for you are alive and there is a drug that can help. Looking for and noticing all the blessings brought to your life will help you to feel God’s presence all around you.
4. Reading His Word
God is all around us and His word tells us stories, gives us encouraging word, shows us relationships, healing, living. His words written by people whom He spoke to and gave the wisdom and knowledge will take you to a place of knowing God that you have never imagined. Each verse different for you and me, different for different seasons in life, yet always tells you exactly what you need to hear. Opening up the pages of this Book will reveal to you a God you may have never known, a Savior, you may not realize loves you desperately, a guide to life that can bring you hope and joy. When we read the Word of God, we can see that he is faithful and just and knows our every need and will be there when we need him, right in front of us.
Isaiah 41:10 says, “So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” He IS with us. He IS here where we are, meeting us perfectly according to his plan. He will NEVER leave us. He IS omnipresent and our Father in all things.
Have faith in this greatness in knowing that our God will be with us no matter our need. So, grab your coffee. Mine is in a new mug from Sitka, proudly professing the name of the town, and begin to move closer to the God that is always there. Begin to speak His name, pray with Him, give Him thanks, spend time with Him. He will reveal His presence to you, this He promises.