Am I a God at hand, declares the Lord, and not a God far away? Can a man hide himself in secret places so that I can not see him? declares the Lord. Do I not fill heaven and earth? declares the Lord.

Jeremiah 23: 23, 24

 

To stick with the motif at hand, let me pose a question. Does God ever seem to be asking you to consider something that on the surface might appear obvious? At least it is a question that has a church world, Christian faith life right answer. Although Jeremiah is addressing a rather specific audience at this point, he is really expressing God’s challenge to all of His people. These questions are ones that each of us should ponder and answer with true candor. In other words, we should look at our lives and respond based upon how we actually live and do so with a heart of confession and repentance.

 

If we believe with all of our being that God is at hand, that He is right here in this room and inside of my heart and mind, would we think, say, and do the things that we do? If we didn’t somehow believe that there were times when we were invisible to God, how is it that we can ever consider that any of our sinfulness is actually hidden? From my own perspective, there are times when I lose sight of both of these facts; yet, God’s nearness is one of His characteristics that I value the most. Perhaps I want Him close at hand when I am in need of comfort, counsel or rescue, but I want to be far from His sight when I am seeking to live as I please. It would seem that these questions do matter to me.

 

As I answer them in honest reflection on the way that I live, how far I wander away from God’s will, His calling, and righteousness becomes far too apparent. Yet God is not repulsed. He does not leave me. Rather, my Lord calls to me, and He comes to me even in the far corners of my wandering. I am confronted with the reality that there is no place that I can go, either in terms of literal physical location or in the sojourning of my heart and mind, where the presence of the Lord does not fill the room. Christ did not come into this world just to live in it for a time, He enveloped the world for all time, and He infuses it with the presence of His Spirit. This means that I am never actually separated from God, and it also means that His love, grace, and restorative mercy are always at work in me. As I recognize my sin and desire to turn away from it, Christ is faithful to renew and to restore me.