There is much in my life as a parent that points me to a truth about
God. Sometimes, it’s a parallel truth, like the fact that I discipline
my children for their good, as God does in my own life (though my
discipline is far from perfect!).
myself and God. While I can’t be available to both my kids at the same
time, God is always present for us.
One of God’s attributes is his omnipresence.
This means he is present everywhere in creation. There is no where we
could go that God is not also there because he fills all of creation. He
is not confined to space or time. There are no limits or boundaries
that restrict him. And no one can hide from his presence. “Where shall I
go from your Spirit? Or where shall I flee from your presence? If I
ascend to heaven, you are there! If I make my bed in Sheol, you are
there!” (Psalm 139:7-8).
This is hard for our finite minds to
grasp—with bodies that can only occupy one space at a time. It’s hard
for me to imagine—as a mom who is daily tugged and pulled in different
directions. We often try to think of God’s omnipresence in terms we
understand, but because God is a spirit, he doesn’t take up space the
way an object or person takes up space. He is everywhere all the time.
“Can a man hide himself in secret places so that I cannot see him?
declares the Lord. Do I not fill heaven and earth? declares the Lord”
Not only is God always present, he is always
fully present. Theologians sometimes call this the immensity of God.
This means he is completely accessible to us. He doesn’t partially
listen to our prayers because he is focused on another person’s prayers
at the same time. He doesn’t get busy in one part of the world and
neglect the other part. He is never distracted, stretched, overwhelmed,
burdened, pulled, or pressured by the demands of others. He is fully
engaged and attentive to his children.
God always gives us his
full attention. Unlike my children calling and searching for me, we
don’t have to do that with God; he is right there with us. Unlike my
children having to wait their turn to receive my attention, we don’t
have to wait for our turn with God. We never have to schedule an
appointment. God is always with us.
Sometimes, we talk about how
we sense God’s presence more in certain circumstances or in specific
locations. Some may say they sense God’s presence when they sit on the
beach or hike on a mountain trail. The truth is, God is not more present
in those places than in others. It may be that he allows us to “feel”
his presence more in some situations. It’s also likely that when we are
less distracted by our daily responsibilities and cares, we are able to
focus our thoughts on God. When we spend time in his creation—rather
than stuck behind a cubicle or with our face glued to a screen—we are
reminded of who he is and respond in wonder and awe.
said, there are times where we are promised his presence in a unique
way: when we take the Lord’s Supper and when we are gathered with the
people of God in worship. In addition, there may also be times when God
makes us “feel” his presence less, perhaps as a form of discipline or
for some other divine reason (Psalm 89:46). It doesn’t mean that he is
any less present. He is always with us, even when we don’t “feel” like
The doctrine of God’s omnipresence is comforting and
reassuring. We are never left alone. We are always—at all times and in
all places—in the presence of God. We can cry out to him and know that
he hears us. We can trust that he is always with us.
should make us respond in praise and worship, “Great is the LORD, and
greatly to be praised, and his greatness is unsearchable” (Psalm 145:3).
[written by Christina Fox]