During those many miles on the highway between Houston and Dallas I often thought of God and His presence. From dawn to dusk, and the deep darkness of midnight, I was always struck by the fact that though I could not see Him He could see me. His watchful eye and presence were with me everywhere each mile I drove.
When the days got lonely, and there were so many lonely days, He was with me in the midst. Watching me like a loving Father contemplating every move I would make, every thought in the deepest recesses of my mind, and the aches in the forgotten chambers of my heart. As much as I would have loved His virtual appearing before me, He was everywhere.
The two classes I taught were met with much anticipation for me. I saw how my students gave the utmost respect and grace to me each time we were together. They were filled with joy and with need. Joy to share God’s word with fellow believers and need for God’s insight as well. Each time class ended my heart sank as I left their presence only to drive 250 miles back to Houston, alone.
What I learned most of all was that God was everywhere. He was everywhere with me in the presence of my students, He was everywhere with me while I was teaching His word, and He was everywhere with me in the safe journey to and from home.
Today, our world has been shaken by the COVID-19 pandemic. An invisible virus passing through humanity weaving a web displaying the interwoven world we live in. We have all been affected in some way or another and the longer it weaves we will all be affected even more so.
As I look at the images and the onslaught of information and data presented I am reminded of all those who have suffered as a result. There has been much suffering, from the passing away of loved ones, sickness, loss of employment, postponements of events, restricted travel, the hindering of gatherings, and so much more. It is an isolation of desolation of sorts.
Still, God is everywhere.
As the Psalmist David writes…
“Where can I go from Thy Spirit?
Or where can I flee from Thy presence?
If I ascend, Thou art there;
If I make my bed in Sheol, behold, Thou art there.
If I take the wings of the dawn,
If I dwell in the remotest part of the sea,
Even there Thy hand will lead me,
And Thy right hand will lay hold of me.
If I say, “Surely the darkness will overwhelm me, and the light around me will be night,”
Even the darkness is not dark to Thee, And the night is as bright as the day.
Darkness and light are alike to Thee.” (Psalm 139: 7-12)
So now, we come to the life of David, from shepherd boy to King of all Israel. No greater figure in the Old Testament was as acquainted with solitude and isolation than David. From his tending sheep, fleeing Saul in the desert wilderness, to King of Israel, forbidden sin with Bathsheba, and the loss of a child, David for the most part experienced aloneness with God.
In verse 7, David asks “where can I go and where can I flee?” He was acknowledging that God is everywhere. There was no place David could be where God was not there already. We are never lost or alone from the sight of God. Yahweh is there, always.
In verse 8, David says he can ascend to heaven or lay in bed in Sheol and God is yet still there. God is in the ascension and the depths of the earth. Here David acknowledges that God is above and below in all the created world.
In verse 9, David gives a beautiful motif “wings of the dawn” as the upward rising sun from the east down to the remotest depths of the sea at sunset. Yahweh is everywhere and he cannot escape His presence.
In verse 10, David acknowledges that God is there by leading him and guiding him. Absolutely, God can be relied upon at all times.
In verses 11 – 12, David says that though darkness can be overwhelming and light will be as night as well, God sees it all. There are no contrasts with God. Dark and light are the same to God as neither can blind His sight from us. Thus, God is everywhere, is aware of everything, and is present regardless of our circumstances.
How wondrous God’s ever-presence meant to David. There was no doubt despite his life’s triumphs and tragedies David knew God was with him everywhere he walked, slept, dwelled, and battled, from tending sheep in the fields to the warrior King of Israel.
Over the years, I have known of one or two people that say “God is with you!” It seems to come when those persons are seemingly doing well and not minded by reality. Of course, He is there everywhere, though we cannot see or even feel Him. When I am ill, God is not taking my temperature, or bringing me a glass of water in the middle of the night, or bathing me when I am unable to do so. As I look deeper, God is there everywhere in the time it takes to heal, through a caregiver that meets my daily needs, through my physician that tends to my wounds, in the breath that I breathe, and in my prayers.
So now in the year 2020, I have seen God in the midst. He is everywhere. He is everywhere with us as we stay at home in a more settled down environment for once listening to the tranquility of silence that has not been heard in a long time. He is everywhere with us as we remain with our families and loved ones enjoying home-cooked meals at the dinner tables. He is everywhere with us during long walks in our neighborhoods and parks. He is everywhere with us as we take care of our elderly relatives. He is everywhere with you and me, protecting us from yet worse, by the generosity of neighbors and communities, and mostly by the heroic medical and healthcare workers treating those most at risk of losing their lives.
There is no place where we cannot go where He is not there already. Humankind is linear in the timeframe of reality and the world as we know it. God is not. He owns the complete sphere of time. God is omnipresent in the sense that He transcends all limitations of time and is everywhere present all around the world.
God is everywhere.
Photo credit by the author: The River Oaks – Houston.
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