God decided to go and live among His people Israel in the wilderness. They built the Tabernacle for Him meticulously designed down to the last detail. It symbolized His Holy presence in their midst.
On another occasion, God decided to come and live among us in human form. Not only was His presence symbolized by the Tabernacle/Temple, but His presence was real in the person of Jesus Christ. One of the clearest prophesies of this is in Isaiah 7:14, “Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign: Behold the virgin shall conceive and bear a Son and shall call his name Immanuel.” In Matthew’s gospel when the angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph, the significance of this name, Immanuel, was given. It means “God with us.”
Approximately 33 years God was here on earth ministering to people concerning their health, psychological, and spiritual needs, in the person Christ Jesus. He spent about three years in a close relationship with the apostles, teaching them and helping them grow spiritually. Because of this close relationship, when Jesus began to share with them of His departure, they became frustrated and confused. This is when He began to teach them of His return in the person of the Holy Spirit. “Now I go my way to Him that sent Me . . . because I have said these things to you, sorrow has filled your heart, but it is to your advantage that I go away . . . If I go, I will send Him (the Holy Spirit) to you.” (John 16:5-7)
The apostle Paul shares this truth about the indwelling presence of God, the Holy Spirit, to all believers in Christ Jesus. “Do you not know that your body (as a believer) is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God . . .” Paul was reassuring those to whom he was writing about the promise Jesus made recorded in John 17:20 & 26 “My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in Me through their message . . . that the love You have for Me may be in them and that I Myself may be in them.”
Even though we have the knowledge of this truth, God’s presence, we all have had experiences that have made us ask, “Where is God?” When we go through a very tragic situation and all turns out well, it is easy to say, “The Lord was with me.” But, when it does not turn out well it is also easy to say, “Where is God?” He wants us to know that He is present in the “good times” and the “hard times.” One of the songs that I enjoy says, “The God of the mountain is the God of the valley.” King David recognized this same truth by sharing, “Though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for You (God) are with me.” When the Lord Jesus gave the “Great Commission” to His apostles to go to all nations and make disciples, He promised to be with them. “. . . I am with you always to the very end of the age.” (Matthew 28:20)
I remember a Bible teacher of years past sharing with the group on one occasion of our study, “When we pray we don’t have to ask God to be with us, we should just thank Him for the promise of His presence.” God has said, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.” (Hebrews 13:5) “Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; He will never leave you nor forsake you.” (Deut. 31:6)
At times the things you go through may seem unfair. You must remember that, even when the adversity you are going through appears to be senseless, He is present with you to see you through it. You can be confident that God will use it for good in your life.