Have you ever felt as though God was actively destroying your life?
Be honest. Have you ever thought that God was purposefully taking you down a notch or two? I have. In fact, I am convinced that God instructs and humbles us by sending trials perfectly suited for our sanctification. He blesses us with difficulties so that we might love Him more and this world less. But we must not think that He is absent in the challenges. We must reject a Christian version of deism. God is always with us.
Consider these words by one of my favorite authors, Thomas Watson:
“God is infinite in all places, so let us not limit Him as our forefathers did: they ‘limited the Holy One of Israel’ (Psalm 78:41). We limit God when we confine Him within the narrow compass of our reason. Reason thinks God must go such a way to do His work; or the business will never be effected. This action does limit God to our reasoning, whereas He is infinite, and His ways are past finding out (Romans 11:33). In the deliverance of the church, it is limiting God wither to set Him a time or to prescribe Him a method for deliverance. God will deliver Zion, but He will be left to His own liberty. He will not be tied to a place, to a time, or to an instrument, which were to limit Him, and then He should not be infinite. God will go His own way. He will baffle those who do not accept His omnipresence, and He will nonplus reason. He orchestrates our lives for good even when we thing He is destroying them. He acts like Himself, like an infinite, wonder-working God” (Glorifying God: A Yearlong Collection of Classic Devotional Writings, Thomas Nelson, 2009, Paul M. Hummel, ed.).
Watson’s words were inspired by one of the sweetest texts in the Bible: Psalm 139:7-10.
“Where can I go from Your Spirit? Or where can I flee from Your presence? If I ascend to heaven, You are there; If I make my bed in Sheol, behold, You are there. If I take the wings of the dawn, If I dwell in the remotest part of the sea, Even there Your hand will lead me, And Your right hand will lay hold of me” (NASB).
“Even there Your hand will lead me.”
Even where? Even if I attempt to go as far as I can from the Lord, He will be present. And–follow David’s thought-process in this context–even if I run away from God, He will still be near. He will still lead me.
Does that encourage you today? I do not know what your current situation looks like. Right now God may look like a master artist putting beautiful brushstrokes on a colorful campus. Or, He may resemble the supervisor on a demolition crew. You may sense His presence. You may sense an uncomfortable distance. Honestly, this season finds me vacillating between the two extremes. My comfort on this rainy day is the truth of Emmanuel. God is with me.
Watson is correct. “God will go His way.” However, it is good to know that when I go my way, I find Him with me every step of the way.