My son and his family flew to England on Friday to begin the next chapter of their lives. So. Far. Away. Yes, they may be far away from Brian and me, but they are never beyond the reach of God.
There is much about God that comforts me in regard to our family being separated by an ocean – actually, who God IS is my comfort. That God is wise, good, merciful, gracious, all-powerful, all-knowing, eternal, and perfect comforts me. I know that my loving Father’s hands hold my children secure.
And as I think of them so far away, one of the most comforting attributes of God is that he is spirit. Because God is spirit, he is everywhere all the time. This is a magnificently lofty thought for us humans to process because we tend to think of everything in spatial terms; everything has a size and shape and takes up space.
Because God is spirit he is not limited to a location and yet God fills the universe; as Solomon declared: “The heavens, even the highest heaven, cannot contain you. How much less this temple I have built.”(1 Kings 8:27b NIV)
Boom! My mind blows up trying to understand that!
God is not anything we can comprehend. He does not have a human body because he existed before he created the human body. He does not exist as matter because he created matter. He does not exist as vapor, because he created vapor. He does not exist as anything that we can describe or see in creation because he existed as God before creation. He created everything that has been created, and as spirit, he exists outside of creation.
How can we begin to wrap our finite, human minds around that? We can’t, so unfortunately we often try to define God down to something we can manage. In other words, we try to contain the uncontainable God within the boundaries of our imagination and intelligence.
When we succeed at that, how pitiful, small and powerless does God become? How pathetically human can we make him? Is that what we want? Not me! I want God as he describes himself – as the One True God who transcends time and space and who is always everywhere present – God who is spirit.
“Do you people think that I am some local deity and not the transcendent God?” the Lord asks. “Do you really think anyone can hide himself where I cannot see him?” the Lord asks. “Do you not know that I am everywhere?” the Lord asks.” (Jeremiah 23:23-24 NET)
“You hem me in behind and before… Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence? If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there. If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, even there you hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast.” – Psalm 139:5a, 7-10 NIV
This is a promise to me and at the same time a promise to my children. They have settled on the far side of the sea, and God is there because God is spirit. While God’s spirit is invisible, God does not hide himself from us; quite the opposite, he reveals himself to us in a multitude of ways.
God promises that when we seek him, we will find him, and the reward for seeking him is seeing him. We see him in the way he directs our circumstances. We see him in the way he comforts us. We see him in the way he matures our faith and enables us to overcome difficulty. We see him through the eyes of faith every single time we look for him.
We will never see the face of God with our physical eyes, but we will one day see God with our spiritual eyes, though probably not all of God because he is infinite. Until then, not only does God reveal himself to us in ways we can understand, he ultimately revealed himself to us in the Person of the Lord Jesus Christ.
“Christ is the visible image of the invisible God. He existed before anything was created and is supreme over all creation, for through him God created everything in the heavenly realms and on earth.
For God in all his fullness was pleased to live in Christ, and through him God reconciled everything to himself. He made peace with everything in heaven and on earth by means of Christ’s blood on the cross.
This includes you who were once far away from God. You were his enemies, separated from him by your evil thoughts and actions. Yet now he has reconciled you to himself through the death of Christ in his physical body.” Colossians 1:15-16a, 19- 22a NLT
My heart is at rest because God fills the universe with his glorious presence. There is no place where God is not fully and intimately accessible and in complete control of all things.
God is aware of the things that are beyond your control as well. Will you trust him to cover every detail and fill you with peace that is everywhere you are – and everywhere that you cannot be?
This summer (2016) I have chosen to highlight an attribute of God each week in the blog posts. For the entire catalog of attributes, please click on this link: Attributes of God