“Am I only a God nearby,” declares the Lord, “and not a God far away? Can anyone hide in secret places so that I cannot see him?” declares the Lord. “Do not I fill heaven and earth?” declares the Lord. Jeremiah 23: 23 – 24
I can’t believe it is already May! There is just something about this month that is special. It is as if spring finally has its day, and the uncertainty of April is behind us. It is also the month of Mother’s Day and my dear mother’s birthday. It always brings sweet memories and reflections of the past.
Yet, here and now, there are the beautiful reminders of God’s creation and His presence in the blooming flowers and trees, the newness of green grass, the fresh air, and the wonderful warmth of the sun. How could anyone doubt it?
Yet, even faithful Christians sometimes feel as if God has left them during a “season” of time. David said it well as He cried out to God in Psalm 44:24, “Why do you hide your face and forget our misery and oppression?”
When something unexpected happens to us, or if a painful circumstance has gone on for quite awhile, we may begin to feel a loneliness that startles and frightens us – as if God has left us. We experience disappointment, discouragement, confusion, doubt, fear, guilt, and even anger. We just don’t understand, especially if we have come to rely on His presence, comfort, encouragement, and guidance. Then suddenly it seems as if there is nothing from Him but silence. The sadness and heartache we may experience during this time has even been described as “being covered by the shadow of death”.
I have had these seasons – times when I didn’t feel as if I could even pray because I felt so distant and isolated from God. They are painful, and I felt hopeless, and so alone, even when I was surrounded by loved ones. We just don’t understand why God would let us experience such despair, but in studying His Word, we can gain a little more insight into the possible reasons.
We can rest assured that God has one for these times – whether it is to get our attention, to help us in our spiritual growth, or to teach us to trust in Him even when we don’t feel His presence. But even when He seems distant and silent, we can enter the silence with Him. We can be still, look for Scripture passages that remind us of His love and promises, or listen to worship music, and get to know our God for who He is – more than just for the prayers He answers or for the blessings He gives us.
We can learn to wait upon Him and believe that we can trust Him even when He seems absent. For we can rest assured that He has been working in us during this time and He will make His presence known to us once again. Dawn always follows night and our times of darkness will end. And on the other side of the darkness, we may even discover that we have come out of this experience stronger and with a deeper faith in Him.
This verse reminds us that we just have to trust that He is there, even when we don’t feel His presence in the silence. God has promised that He will always be with us, that He is able to be everywhere, that we cannot ever hide from Him, and that He fills every piece of space.
It is incomprehensible; we can’t begin to wrap our minds around this divine being, His power, and His glory. Yet, accepting God’s omnipresence is a matter of faith; it’s that simple.
One writer suggested that perhaps we could think of Him in the way we think of air because air is near and essential to life. God’s love and presence also surrounds us and is just as essential to life as air itself. He is our breath of life. He fills the heavens and the earth, and He brings love, comfort, strength, hope, assurance, and peace. He is always with us.
Our heavenly Father, may we always be mindful of your presence even when we don’t feel it. May we realize that sometimes we have to trust that you know what is best for us, even if it means waiting in silence. Thank you for filling our world and the heavens with your holy and divine presence, love, and grace. Amen