Divine Presence in the Midst of Uncertainties
We have entered 2021 with lot of reflections and expectations, hoping and praying that there will be some way out from the present pandemic the world is fighting. However, there are some others who think that the present perilous situation will not disappear in the near future. Whatever may be the state of the world around us, a child of God can find comfort and strength in the manifold promises found in the word of God.
God’s unfailing presence with the people of God is such a reassuring reality. In the midst of all the unprecedented and uncertain developments around us we can hold on to the promise of our Lord Jesus to His disciples, "lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age". Matthew 28:20b
Nevertheless, it is possible that due to overfamiliarity with such spiritual terminologies we may not fully comprehend the meaning and implication of God’s abiding presence with us. Let us consider six things about this promise Christ made along with the Great Commission.
i. It’s not just a casual promise.
The Lord Jesus did not make this promise to capture their attention or to inspire them for a moment as the way certain politicians make great promises but never fulfill them. He really meant what He said. Remember, our God is always faithful in all His words; we can fully depend upon them.
So, when we as followers of Christ speak of God’s abiding presence with His people, it is not just a wishful thinking, a hope or a desire based on some spiritual ceremonies. Many religious people think that after certain rituals and offerings, such as putting some coins at a sacred place, God is with them! We know there is no reality in such assumptions. But God’s presence with us as promised in the scripture is very much real that we can experience personally, in fact we ought to.
ii. It’s an all-inclusive promise.
It’s a promise that we can consider as containing all the other promises of the Bible. Just imagine a business man telling his son to go to the town for certain work. Even after his detailed explanation of the work and the locations, the boy may still be confused and concerned about various things. But once the man promises to go along with the boy, all his questions and doubts would be settled.
Similarly, when the Lord Jesus promised ‘I am with you always even to the end of the age’, this should settle all the other issues, all the questions on any aspect of our life.
iii. It’s God’s own initiative.
More than man, it's God's own interest that His people enjoy and experience His unfailing presence. From Genesis to Revelation, we can notice….....
Presence of God
To protect us. Gen 28:15; Deut 31:6, 8; Isa 43:2
To prosper us. Gen 39: 2
To give us rest. Exo 33:14
To provide for us. Deut 2:7
To empower us. Josh 1:5, 9
To fight our battles 2Chro 32:7, 8; Isa 8: 9, 10
John Gibson Paton was a Scottish missionary in one of the New Hebrides Islands where the natives were cannibals. Naturally they were hostile to the mission work. One night they surrounded the mission station in Aniwa Island, determined on burning the mission house and kill the missionaries.
John Paton and his wife Maggie prayed during that terror-filled night that God would deliver them miraculously. When daylight came they were amazed to see their attackers leave.
A year later, the chief of the tribe was converted to Christ. Remembering what had happened, Paton asked the chief what had kept him from burning down the house and killing them. The chief replied in surprise, "Who were all those men with you there?"
Paton knew no men were present--but the chief said he was afraid to attack because he had seen hundreds of big men in shining garments with drawn swords circling the mission station.
Source: Today in the Word
"Safety does not consist in the absence of danger but in the presence of God."
_________ Quoted by William MacDonald with Exo 33: 12 – 17 notes
“Know that even when you are in the kitchen, our Lord moves amidst the pots and pans”
_________ - Teresa of Avila
“Would you like me to tell you what supported me through all the years of exile among a people whose language I could not understand, and whose attitude toward me was always uncertain and often hostile? It was this, “Lo I am with you always, even unto the end of the world.” On these words I staked everything, and they never failed.”
_________ David Livingstone