Lately I’ve been on somewhat of a campaign against some questionable teaching and doctrine. There are catch phrases and clichés we use in the religious vernacular without giving it much thought-I’m guilty too. One of those is the concept of the believer chasing after God, as if they have somehow drifted away. Is it really possible for an engaged believer to move away from God?
It doesn’t matter how long you have walked in the faith-there will be times when you doubt God’s presence, when you sense abandonment and are tricked into believing God has left you on your own. Trust me when I say I know how easy it is to feel this way when everything you thought was solid suddenly crumbles under your feet and you are left wondering what the hell just happened. Many are the times that God’s silence in the middle of severe testing is misinterpreted as God’s departure, and that is not sound Biblical teaching. We are compelled to accept our feelings and emotions as reality and the only departure is that of our way of thinking in light of God’s Word.
First, believer and follower or not, God is omnipresent. He is everywhere, all the time and at the same time, like the oxygen in our atmosphere. He saturates everything. This implies that He is also in us, through us and around us always. I used in my title the word saturation. It is the perfect term relative to God’s existence in and around His children. Saturation literally means to be in a state or process when no more of something can be absorbed, combined with or in any other way added to! What a great concept of God! If I were to use the sponge as an illustration, it would go like this. I can take a dry sponge and drop it into a sea of water. It will float on the surface for a time until it slowly begins to absorb water. The dry sponge would be the one seeking God but not yet committed. As the seeker begins to accept His grace and reality he slowly absorbs the truth and the saturating essence of God until at the point of total acceptance, he is fully saturated and sinks to the depths of God’s goodness. He is full of water. He can come under attack by any one of the sea’s natural predators and believe he is no longer wet or that God has left him but his perception doesn’t change the reality-he is saturated by a God who doesn’t leave or separate from us when we are feeling otherwise.
Consider these irrevocable promises recorded for our encouragement for those times when we question God’s presence;
Psalm 139:7-12 Where can I go from Your Spirit? Or where can I flee from Your presence? If I ascend to heaven, You are there; If I make my bed in Sheol, behold, You are there. If I take the wings of the dawn, If I dwell in the remotest part of the sea…
Jeremiah 23:23-24 “Am I a God who is near,” declares the LORD, “And not a God far off? “Can a man hide himself in hiding places So I do not see him?” declares the LORD “Do I not fill the heavens and the earth?” declares the LORD.
Isaiah 43:2 “When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; And through the rivers, they will not overflow you When you walk through the fire, you will not be scorched, Nor will the flame burn you
Joshua 1:9 “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous! Do not tremble or be dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.”
Matthew 28:20 teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”
1 Corinthians 3:16 Do you not know that you are a temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you?
1 John 3:24 The one who keeps His commandments abides in Him, and He in him We know by this that He abides in us, by the Spirit whom He has given us.
Popular recording artists The Newsboys recorded a song entitled Wherever We Go, and talks about God always going with them. I like the line, “Wherever we go, that’s where the party’s at”. When it comes to our way of thinking about the impossibility of escaping or running out of God’s presence, it is much more sound doctrine than you could ever imagine!