In April of 1970 during the near-disastrous mission to the moon, fear gripped the world when an oxygen tank on the Apollo 13 spacecraft blew up and crippled the craft, causing the mission to be aborted. In order to gain speed to return to earth, the craft performed a customary “slingshot” movement around the dark side of the moon, using the gravitational pull of the moon to “fling” the craft back toward earth. But for nearly an hour, behind the moon, the three-man crew was cut off from communication with earth. Nearly 250,000 miles from earth, the astronauts could talk—but no one was listening.
What If God Wasn’t There?
What if you called out to the heavens in prayer, uncertain if God was there? “God, do You hear me? Lord, are you there?”
It’s one thing to call out to someone you know is there but who doesn’t answer. There’s obviously a reason for their silence. But it’s an altogether different thing not to know if anyone is there. The assurance that God is always present in our life is the Christian’s deepest source of security. Even if His answer is delayed (Daniel 10:1-14) or His answer is “No” (2 Corinthians 12:7-10), that’s okay. What isn’t okay is a lack of assurance that God is always present in our lives.
Thankfully, that is not something about which we have to wonder. God never gets distracted, forgets, oversleeps, or goes on vacation.
In fact, even if we try to avoid God’s presence—something I don’t recommend—we find He meets us around every corner. That’s what Jonah discovered when he tried to flee from God and met Him in the middle of the Mediterranean Sea. And King David discovered the same thing: “You have hedged me behind and before, . . . Where can I go from Your Spirit? Or where can I flee from Your presence?” (Psalm 139:5, 7) David may have written this as he thought about his sins of adultery and murder that he tried to conceal. Far better, he concluded, to know that God is always there, even when we wish He wasn’t, then to wonder if He is there when we truly need Him.
What If God Is There?
God told the prophet Jeremiah that He “[fills] heaven and earth” (Jeremiah 23:24). And the apostle Paul told the skeptics in Athens that God “is not far from each one of us; for in Him we live and move and have our being” (Acts 17:27-28). Regardless of where you are, what you are doing, or how you are feeling, God is present with you.
One of the most amazing stories in the Bible about God’s presence is when Joseph was sold into slavery in Egypt by his own brothers. In spite of this ordeal, the Bible says that God was with him. The official who bought Joseph, Potiphar, eventually put Joseph in charge of all his affairs (Genesis 39:2). Even when Joseph was wrongly accused and thrown into prison, “the Lord was with Joseph and showed him mercy, and He gave him favor” with the prison officials (Genesis 39:21).
As a result of God’s presence in Joseph’s life, Potiphar was introduced to Joseph’s God: “And [Potiphar] saw that the Lord was with [Joseph] and that the Lord made all he did to prosper in his hand” (Genesis 39:3). Probably for the first time in his life, an Egyptian ruler observed the influence of the God of Joseph—and was impressed.
Joseph was eventually brought before Pharaoh, king of Egypt, to interpret his dreams. Pharaoh was so impressed with the power of Joseph’s God, he said, “Can we find such a one as this, a man in whom is the Spirit of God?” (Genesis 41:38) As a result of God’s presence in Joseph’s life, Pharaoh made Joseph second in command over all of Egypt.
God’s presence in Joseph’s life resulted in God being acknowledged and welcomed into the royal court of Egypt. And therein lies a significant reason for God being with you and me wherever we are: God wants to make His presence known to others through us.
Never forget: God is always present with you. And through you, He can become personally present to others.
David Jeremiah is the senior pastor of Shadow Mountain Community Church and the founder and host of Turning Point for God. For more information about Dr. Jeremiah or Turning Point, visit www.DavidJeremiah.org.
Living the life of an overcomer starts with one very simple, yet often overlooked action: putting on your armor. You’ve heard it before, from the book of Ephesians, the wonderful metaphor—the breastplate of righteousness, the belt of truth, the shoes of peace—the armor of God.