The Ever-Present God

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The dictionary definition of omnipresence is “(of God) present everywhere at the same time.”

I’ve been thinking on this for the past month and wonder how many of us really live from this very orthodox truth on a daily basis.

Suppose I did begin to recognize this Fact. How would it change my relationships? If I was frustrated or hurt by someone, and yet chose to recognize that God is present all around me, in me, and that He “works all things after the counsel of His own will” in my situation, how would that change my course of action?

In my creative life as a musician, singer, songwriter, how would it change my creativity and output to know that the true Muse is always present with me, brooding over the waters, ready for the moment of creation?

How would it change my worship of God to know that I am literally living and having my being in Him? Would every moment become a different facet of worship? Would washing dishes or writing a song or spending time with my children become a form of worshiping God? When I walked into the church for worship with others, would it change the atmosphere if we all knew as Fact that God was already present, that we didn’t have to coax Him to “come down,” that we didn’t have to “invite Him” or sing songs asking God to come to us? Can it be possible that the manifestation of that Presence is merely awaiting our recognition, our trust, our faith-response to the Fact of omnipresence that is stated in the Word of God?

How would it change our sense of security, of being protected, of having a mission and a purpose in life to know that God is always present and working His eternal purposes – working all things together for good to them that love Him, working everything for good to those who have been called according to His purpose and plan? What if we ate, slept, and breathed this truth for awhile? Would it become part of our consciousness, a subconscious undercurrent of faith?

Winner of 147 Grammys (or so), Ron Block is the banjo-ninja portion of Alison Kraus and Union Station. When he's not laying down a bluegrass-style martial-arts whoopin' on audiences around the world, he's taking care of his donkey named "Trash" and keeping himself busy by being one of the most well-read and thoughtful people we know.


14 Comments

  1. Connie

    Our small group is studying “The Knowledge of the Holy” be AW Tozer. We wrestle with some of these seemingly abstract attributes of our God on a regular basis, especially this question of how knowing and believing it impacts our daily life in the Lord.
    One of the most difficult concepts to grasp–yet the most fundamental–is the triune person of God. How can one being be three persons, all the same personality? Still, it is out of this divine nature of personal being that all his other attributes derive. It hurts my head to think about this, and yet as I have chased knowing God this way, I have seen beautiful harmony in Him. Also, he seems less a God of wrath and more a God who is intimately attuned to all that matters.

  2. Paula Shaw

    Practicing the presence of God is no easy task. . . all the distractions, all the different pulls on our lives that bring us face to face with our humanity and weakness. . . Recognizing His presence in every situation “seems” easy enough, right?!
    I have a priest friend who lives out in California. When he began practicing the presence of God many years ago, he said he would set his watch to beep at 3 minute intervals. When it did, he’d focus his whole self on Jesus, picturing Him observing the given situation, and then he’d “check in” with Jesus and ask Him what to do. Over time, the time between the intervals increased, until now. . . sheesh, he’s probably got days between those beeps! Or he doesn’t use the “beep system” at all. The thing is, I saw a very intentional discipline in this man to learn how to include Jesus in his every moment. And to this day, whenever I see Mike, it’s so clear that there is this “otherness” about him. He walks in this sort of “other consciousness” kind of thing. It’s really remarkable to see him at the moment of “check in”. It’s barely perceptible, but if you know Mike, and you know what he’s about, then you know he’s checking in with Jesus when he gets this certain little expression on his face. It’s instinctive now, and almost ever-present. It’s taken him years to develop this “subconscious current of faith”. So I KNOW it’s possible. I think the question for me is: am I willing and “desperate” enough to make it a priority in my life? Given my stubbornness, I probably am, but knowing my weakness of letting myself be distracted, I’m afraid it will take me to eternity to develop this. I’m hoping that’s okay, since eternity is the amount of time we have left. . .Ooph! I hope I made sense here. Good post, Ron. Really thought-provoking and prayer-worthy. Good start to the day, and an even better “wake-up call” here, smack in the middle of Advent.
    🙂

  3. Canaan Bound

    I know you’ve probably read this a million times, but it’s still good.

    I arise today
    Through the strength of heaven;
    Light of the sun,
    Splendor of fire,
    Speed of lightning,
    Swiftness of the wind,
    Depth of the sea,
    Stability of the earth,
    Firmness of the rock.

    I arise today
    Through God’s strength to pilot me;
    God’s might to uphold me,
    God’s wisdom to guide me,
    God’s eye to look before me,
    God’s ear to hear me,
    God’s word to speak for me,
    God’s hand to guard me,
    God’s way to lie before me,
    God’s shield to protect me,
    God’s hosts to save me
    Afar and anear,
    Alone or in a mulitude.

    Christ shield me today
    Against wounding
    Christ with me, Christ before me, Christ behind me,
    Christ in me, Christ beneath me, Christ above me,
    Christ on my right, Christ on my left,
    Christ when I lie down, Christ when I sit down,
    Christ in the heart of everyone who thinks of me,
    Christ in the mouth of everyone who speaks of me,
    Christ in the eye that sees me,
    Christ in the ear that hears me.

    I arise today
    Through the mighty strength
    Of the Lord of creation

    –Prayer of St. Patrick–

  4. Dan Kulp

    I’ve had some mental sprints of thinking about God as omni-present. I had an epiphany moment when I moved from always present (sometimes a guilt inducing “God is watching you” and the comforting corollary “God is with you”) to all of time being the present to Him – all of time being “now”.

    If all of time is “now” (which it is, duh) He is with you in the future, now; he was with you in the past hard times, now. Some of the mystery of praying for things and the concept of “changing God’s mind” fades away. Also a continuous joy at the beauty of creation; a “do it again” kid-like joy, because each time is like the first time (tip of hat to “Orthodoxy”). He never grows tired and joy never grows old.

  5. Loren

    I was just reminded again of this last night as we read Ephesians 1:18-20, “I pray also that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, and his incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is like the working of his mighty strength, which he exerted in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms.”

    The same power that raised Christ from the dead lives in me through the Holy Spirit! That is the God who is here with us at all moments! I wonder why I need to be reminded of that SO often…. Why do I fear when this is the truth? Still working on that every moment….

  6. Ron Block

    @ronblock

    Connie: We find the doctrine of the Trinity nearly impossible to understand because we think inside time; eternity is opaque to us except by reliance on God. It’s like flying in a fog by instruments. But as a correlation, the Bible says we Christians are one Body – we are the Body of Christ. How can that be? He is the Head, and we are the parts of the Body, a unity, whether or not we believe it and act on it. We so often throw out such ideas as merely “positional.” “OK, a corporation is a body of people working for a common purpose.” But the reality is we are a Body – a single organism, indwelt by a single Spirit, animated and empowered by the same God.

    Paula, I love that – the priest. I had a pastor who used to do the same thing, check in.

    Canaan, That’s one of the best prayers ever. There isn’t a whole lot of “I’m sooo unworthy and a wretched miserable sinner, and I can’t stop sinning” in the prayer. He takes his focus off of himself, his own worthiness, his own ability, his own strength, and puts his faith totally in God, in Christ, seeing Christ everywhere, including within himself.

    Dan, I get you on the “mental sprints.” When I recognize Christ as present around me and within me, it changes my behavior. When I forget, my behavior deteriorates. The idea “God is watching you” isn’t Recognition – it’s just an attempt to stop sin through fear and guilt. But the truth is that if a man was sitting at his computer tempted to look at pornography, and Jesus Christ appeared in bodily form at his elbow, he’d probably choose to not look at it. In order to sin in a willful, blatant way we have to believe God isn’t present, or at least ignore the fact that he is. But of course it’s better to recognize the presence of God both all around us and within us as our power source.

    Loren: it is the business of the devil to induce the Fog, to lull us back to sleep, like the Witch in The Silver Chair. That is the answer to the “Why?” It is our business to engage in continual Recognition; that is a foundational aspect of how we battle the devil – not by fighting or rebuking but simply by recognizing that we are continually standing in and filled with the presence and power of God. We all fail to do this at times, but to practice it makes problems melt away.

  7. Tina Cornett

    Ron,
    I am always so encouraged by your posts!
    I have been a Christian most of my life but have struggled with how the Spirit lives and works in us. I read about the freedom in Christ but have felt little of it most of the time. I guess I have wanted to try to figure out how to do the Christian life, (ie, be good, or noble, then do it…not believe it is being done in me by Someone and trust that He is doing it). I think I have also arrogantly believed that I brought something to the table, even though I have read and read about my filthy rags of righteousness.
    My head and heart have been unable to connect the truth about walking in the Spirit. I don’t know if it is the language with which it has been presented to me or just that I am dumb as a brick(I’m’ leaning in that direction). I have just always “tried” to be a good Christian. Your posts have really gone a long way to help clear up my confusion (as well as being confronted daily that my self made goodness actually reeks and is so phoney).
    Due to your previous post about Major W. Ian Thomas, I have been reading his book, The Saving Life of Christ and The Mystery of Godliness. I feel like, “where have you been all my life Mr. Thomas???” Thank you, Thank you for writing about him! The way he explains things is so clear to me and has brought me joy and honestly, relief.
    Anyway, thanks again for all that you write about the Spirit living in us and please continue to do so, you really reach those of us saved but not yet fully free.

  8. luaphacim

    As often occurs when I am directly confronted with this particular facet of God’s being, I find myself feeling small, guilty, inadequate. And there, at the center of my shame and relative insignificance, He is present, changing me gently enough to keep me from breaking.

    Thanks for the reminder, Ron!

  9. Ron Block

    @ronblock

    Lua: That’s the weird thing. We are so significant to God. When we come to Christ and have our sins washed away by the Blood, and die in His death, and rise in His resurrection, we become God’s assets. We are not liabilities. We are God’s assets. We are the means by which He presses Himself into the lives of those around us. But we have a devil on our tail telling us constantly that we are liabilities.

    I do my best to agree with the devil wherever he is telling the truth. “You are weak.” I say, ‘Yes, I am. Totally and completely unable to live the Christian life. That’s me. Helpless. Unable. But the deal is, I’ve got this indwelling Holy Spirit that you ain’t got. That Spirit in me is Power. He is totally and completely able to live the Christian live in and through me.” So by agreeing with my adversary I find the real truth. “You are a sinner” says he.” I say, “Well, that’s not my real identity. And yes, of course, if I don’t rely on Christ, who by the way completely wiped out your kingdom at Calvary, I will in fact sin. But all I have to do is see Him in the mirror and recognize His presence in me and all around me, and then step out expecting Him to be my righteousness – and miracle of miracles, my thoughts, attitudes, behaviors change.”

    We are God’s assets. He paid the ultimate price for these assets. Not that we are strong or able in and of ourselves. But what He wants is people who learn to trust Him in everything, and trust Him inside of themselves to be their Life.

  10. Ron Block

    @ronblock

    Tina, I love Major Ian Thomas. He says things so beautifully and simply.

    Salvation is a big mystery that we get to unwrap throughout our lifetime. It is a life of discovery and adventure, of mission and purpose. We don’t give God enough credit, usually. We think salvation is merely being saved from Hell. But it is an all encompassing thing that will touch every part of our being if we let it.

    A large part of the unwrapping is learning to recognize God everywhere. Like the St. Patrick prayer. What is there to fear?

    God looks at us as His children, immature in our views and needing instruction, but basically good kids that need help understanding the big picture. Children who trust their father (if he is trust worthy) usually get a lot farther in life than those who think they can figure everything out on their own.

  11. Becca

    Ron, what you wrote is beautiful. Thank you.

    Do you mind to explain the photo? I’ve revisited this about five times trying to figure it out, but I keep seeing a jalepeno torpedo. Surely that’s not it.

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