Where is God now? When life hurts and is difficult, where is God?
God is omnipresent, meaning He is in all places at all times. Psalm 139 is a great depiction of God's omnipresence. Psalm 139:7 asks, "Where shall I go from your Spirit? Or where shall I flee from your presence?" The answer is that a person can never run from God because He is ever present. Jeremiah 23:24 says, "Can a man hide himself in secret places so that I cannot see him? declares the LORD. Do I not fill heaven and earth? declares the LORD."
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At times the Bible also speaks about where God is in more specific terms. He is often mentioned as dwelling in heaven. In addition, God has revealed Himself visibly in a variety of ways. Some of these include God's appearance to Moses in the burning bush (Exodus 3) and His presence with the Israelites in the wilderness.
In the New Testament, Jesus comes to earth as the second Person of the Triune God to reveal God to humanity. John 1:1 defines Jesus as the "Word" and calls Him God. John 1:14 shares, "And the Word [Jesus] became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth." He lived, died, rose again, and ascended to the Father in heaven.
After this, God sent the Holy Spirit to live within those who believe in Him. Ephesians 1:13 teaches, "In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit."
In summary, though God is omnipresent, He is also able to specifically be present in other ways. Many of these ways were revealed in the Old Testament. Jesus Christ came as God with us. The Holy Spirit now dwells within those who believe in Jesus as Lord.
But if God is always present, where is God when it hurts and life is difficult? Jesus Himself faces this challenge on the cross when He asked, "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?" (Matthew 27:46). In His time of pain, it appeared as if God the Father did not care or was not there. Yet it is clear that Christ's pain on the cross later served as part of God's glorious plan to reveal the resurrected Jesus and bring salvation to many.
This insight also applies to times of struggle in our own lives. In times of trouble, we tend to rely upon emotions. These emotions question whether God is really there because He does not appear to be at work during our struggle. Yet just as with Jesus on the cross, God is still at work even when it does not feel like it. Romans 8:28 shares, "And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose."
In times when God feels distant, we can continue to trust that He is there, that He loves us, and has a purpose for our lives. We can rest in His promises from His Word, knowing that His power is made perfect in weakness (2 Corinthians 12:9-10).
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