No one will be able to stand against you all the days of your life. As I was with Moses, so I will be with you; I will never leave you nor forsake you. Joshua 1:5
Then they gathered around him and asked him, “Lord, are you at this time going to restore the kingdom to Israel?” He said to them: “It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by his own authority. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” Acts 1:6-8
What does it mean for God to be present?
You might have an immediate answer to that question: you may have experienced God’s presence in specific ways throughout your life. Maybe your answer is more of an unfulfilled hope: you wish God was present in ways that you’re just not seeing right now.
Throughout Scripture we see God’s presence appear in a myriad of ways. Some of them dramatic and boldly physical: a pillar of cloud by day and fire by night, prophetic visions, tongues of fire resting on shoulders. And, most profoundly, a man in first century Palestine: Emmanuel, God With Us, Jesus.
But God’s presence is not always so bold and obvious as we usually assume or wish it will be. We also see God’s presence in a gentle whisper. In a reassurance that he sees our struggle even when it feels like he is absent. In Acts 1 Jesus even tells his disciples that they will be without his presence in the way they are used to and desire but will be receiving the presence of the Holy Spirit instead.
The reality is, if we are followers of Jesus God’s presence is always with us. It’s our own awareness of God’s presence that can change. It requires faith to keep believing that whether we feel it or not, whether he’s showing himself in the way we would prefer, God goes with us through his Holy Spirit.
Where is the place or situation where you feel God’s presence the most? Is it on a hike? In a silent space? During corporate worship? Whatever that space is for you, seek it out this week.
By Jessica Rust