God is always present with us… but we mostly take it for granted.
Think about it. When the routines of life are predictable and safe. When we are comfortable, prosperous, and things are going our way. Times like these we may almost completely forget that God is with us… except for maybe a prayer of thanks every now and then.
But what about when things aren’t so calm and secure and good? What about when we are lurched forward into the unknown? What happens when the task before us seems too big, too scary, too difficult? It is in times like these when we hold tightly to the promise of God: “I will never leave you or forsake you”
Throughout the Scriptures, back through the generations of humankind, God has consistently reassured God’s people with the promise of God’s personal presence. In the Old Testament, God reassures the Israelites in the wilderness, on their dangerous journey to the Promised Land, “I will go with you, I will not fail you or leave you”. In the New Testament, when Jesus has been crucified, raised, and is about to ascend to heaven, he gives his friends a difficult and dangerous job… followed by this promise of presence:
“All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” (Matthew 28:18-20)
The truth is that, left on our own, we cannot live into the full person God wants us to be. The journey is too hard, too scary, too dangerous… that we will give up way short of the full life that God has for us. The promise of God’s presence gives us the assurance we need to move forward.