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As a parent, I am often in high demand. Both my children often need me at the exact same time. Inevitably, when I work with one child on a school assignment, the other child will call for me to come and help him with his work. What’s even more challenging is when both my children need a ride to different places at the same time. I frequently remind them that I can be in only one place at a time.

Sometimes, my children need me and I’m in another part of the house. They call and call my name, but I don’t respond because I simply can’t hear them. Eventually they track me down and say something like “Mom, I was calling for you! Why didn’t you answer?”

There is much in my life as a parent that points me to a truth about God. Sometimes, it’s a parallel truth, such as the fact that I discipline my children for their good, as God disciplines me in my own life (though my discipline is far from perfect). Other times, my life as a parent points to a stark contrast between myself and God, as in the examples above. When I find myself stretched and challenged by the limitations of space and time, I’m reminded of our omnipresent God.

While I can’t be available to both my kids at the same time, God is always present for us.

Ever Present Everywhere

One of God’s attributes is His omnipresence. This means He is present everywhere in all creation. There are no limits or boundaries that restrict Him; God is not confined to any one space or moment of time for He has no physical properties. God is spirit and does not take up space in the way an object or person takes up space. There is nowhere we could go that God is not also there because He fills the heavens and earth.

This is hard for our finite minds to grasp. We have bodies that can only occupy one space at a time. As a mom who is daily tugged and pulled in different directions, I have a hard time imagining that God has no such limitations. We often try to think of God’s omnipresence in terms we understand. We might try to compare Him to something we know, such as a gas that spreads throughout a room, but even that comparison doesn’t express the reality of God’s omnipresence, for gas is a state of matter. Nothing can contain our infinite God; He is everywhere all the time. “But will God indeed dwell on the earth? Behold, heaven and the highest heaven cannot contain you” (1 Kings 8:27).

Nothing can contain our infinite God; He is everywhere all the time.

This means there is nowhere we can go and God is not there: “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(Jer. 23:24). No one can hide from His presence. “Where shall I go from your Spirit? Or where shall I flee from your presence? If I ascend to heaven, you are there! If I make my bed in Sheol, you are there!” (Ps. 139:7–8). As R.C. Sproul pointed out, even those in hell are not separated from God but are separated only from His kindness, for “His wrath is with them constantly.”1

A Fully Present God

Not only is God always present, but He is always fully present. Theologians sometimes call this the immensity of God. This means He is fully engaged and attentive to His children. He doesn’t partially listen to our prayers because He is focused on another person’s prayers at the same time. He doesn’t get busy in one part of the world and neglect another part. He is never distracted, stretched, overwhelmed, burdened, pulled, or pressured by the demands of others.

While my children call and search for me, we don’t have to do that with God; He is right there with us. While my children have to wait their turn to receive my attention, we don’t have to wait for our turn with God. We never have to schedule an appointment. God is always with us.

Sometimes, we talk about how we sense God’s presence more in certain circumstances or in specific locations. Some may say they sense God’s presence when they sit on the beach or hike on a mountain trail. The truth is, God is not more present in those places than in others. It may be that He allows us to “feel” His presence more in some situations than in others. It’s also likely that when we are less distracted by our daily responsibilities and cares, we are able to focus our thoughts on God. When we spend time in His creation—rather than stuck in a cubicle or with our face glued to a screen—we are reminded of who He is and are filled with wonder and awe. There may also be times when God makes us “feel” His presence less, perhaps as a form of discipline or for some other divine reason (Ps. 89:46). It doesn’t mean that He is any less present. He is always with us, even when we don’t “feel” that He is.

With that said, there are times where we are promised that we will experience His presence in a unique way: when we take the Lord’s Supper and when we are gathered with the people of God in worship. “For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I among them” (Matt. 18:20).

The doctrine of God’s omnipresence is comforting and reassuring to believers. We are never left alone. We are always—at all times and in all places—in the presence of God. We can cry out to Him and know that He hears us. We can trust that He is always with us. This truth should make us respond in praise and worship, “Great is the LORD, and greatly to be praised, and his greatness is unsearchable” (Ps. 145:3).

 

  1. R.C. Sproul, Essential Truths of the Christian Faith (Wheaton, Ill.: Tyndale, 1998), 44. ↩︎

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