Where is God? Is he sitting on a cloud, peering down at our little planet once in a while, shaking his head in impotent regret? Or worse, is he watching, waiting for me to mess up so he can clobber me? Is he off on a trip to a far corner of the universe, having abandoned us once he set things in motion here? Does he live only in the minds of believers as a “philosophical construct?” Does he wait in a celestial genie bottle, ready to emerge and do our bidding whenever we command?
Paul stood on Mars Hill in Athens and told the philosophers standing around that “He is not far from each one of us, for in Him we live and move and have our being.…” The sentence before that explains that God arranged the world in such a way as to encourage people to seek Him, grope for Him and find Him. God is not far from each one of us, yet we are so blind in mind and heart that we have to seek and grope to find Him.
God, on the other hand, knows exactly where each of us are. He watched us forming in our mothers’ wombs, he knows how many hairs are on our heads, what we think, what we do in secret, and our innermost fears and desires. In fact, He knows all the days fashioned for each one of us, and they’ve been written in His book since before time began.
I can’t escape from a reality of this all-encompassing magnitude. King David of ancient Israel wrote “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.
God himself says through the prophet Jeremiah, “Can anyone hide himself in secret places, so I shall not see him?...Do I not fill heaven and earth?" We live in a universe fashioned by an omniscient, omnipresent Being. That He is also OMNIPOTENT is terrifying to me, given my propensity to go my own way and ignore His direct commands. There is no ambiguity in the Proverb that states “the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.” Yes, the Hebrew word translated ‘fear’ can mean reverence and respect, but its primary meaning is terror. The only reasonable response to a Being with that much power is fear. But that’s only the starting place, where you are when you’ve figured out your true place in the biggest picture there is.
Listen to C.S. Lewis’ wise Mr. Beaver. “…’Course he isn’t safe. But he’s good. He’s the king, I tell you.” God is good, and Mr. Beaver didn’t make that up. All through the Old Testament the prophets repeat variations on “Oh, give thanks to the LORD, for He is good!”
God is good,and I needn’t stay terrified. I can trust Him. I can run in to His arms and beg forgiveness for my pride and stubbornness, my selfish heart, my general and specific wickedness. He will forgive me. He has forgiven me. He loves me, and I can rest in Him—what safer place is there for me than in His arms? “Oh, taste and see that the LORD is good; blessed is the man who trusts in Him!” “For You, Lord, are good, and ready to forgive, and abundant in mercy to all those who call upon You.”
Where is God? His Spirit is in me and in all who trust Him, and we are in the palm of His hand. If you don’t know Him yet, He is knocking at the door of your heart, waiting for permission to indwell you, transform you, and fit you for a life of everlasting glory.