In the presence of God

omnipresenceby Michael E. Brooks

“Where can I go from your Spirit? Or where can I flee from your presence? If I ascend into heaven, you are there; if I make my bed in hell, behold, you are there. If I take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea, even there your hand shall lead me, and your right hand shall hold me” (Psalm 139:7-10 NKJV).

“For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 8:38-39).

Are you afraid of flying? I do not consider myself to be, but must confess that I will often tense up at take off and touchdown. And when turbulence comes and the air gets bumpy I am ready for some assurance. Flying is a wonderful convenience, saving days or even weeks of travel, but it has its disadvantages, for sure. It can be a nerve-wracking experience, to say the least.

At such moments I take a lot of comfort from David and Paul. I don’t imagine either of them contemplated circling the earth at 40,000 feet going 600 miles per hour. But they could have handled it. They had the assurance that wherever they were, whatever the circumstance, they were in God’s presence.

In Psalm 139:8, David stated his conviction that if he ascended into heaven, God would be there. This heaven which he contemplates is almost certainly the skies and the immensity of outer space. It was a given that God was and is in spiritual Heaven. But he is also in the most remote areas of creation.

Similarly, when David said God would be with him if he were in hell, he was not referring to the place of punishment to which Satan and his angels will be consigned. The Hebrew word here often refers simply to the grave.

In effect, David said that God is everywhere — from beneath the surface of the earth (and the seas, see verse 9), to the highest extent of outer space. There is nowhere in all creation where God cannot and does not accompany us.

In Romans 8, Paul adds his amen to David’s faith. Nothing can separate us from God’s loving care, including height and depth. We cannot soar high enough, nor dive deep enough, that God will not be with us and care for us.

When I board a plane to travel 10,000 or more miles to the other side of the earth, these verses give me great peace. Nothing will happen to me that God does not allow. Who can ask for more than that?

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