If God is always present, why is it so hard to know Him? God is here… the question is where are you? Sadly, most of us are lost somewhere in our thoughts, remorsing over some past traumatic incident or artfully scheming some shrewd vanity in the future. The great dilemma of the human condition is our habitual absence from one another and from the presence of God. Knowing God will remain a mystery until the mind is harnessed and brought into communion with Him. As long as we choose to live in a state of constant mental distraction, we will remain isolated from God, and from one another. Everyone has experienced the dejected state of being absolutely alone in the middle of a crowded elevator or shopping mall, relatively close in the material world, yet lightyears apart in spirit.
Sharing a Dinner Table
There is nothing more common than married couples who live in the same house, share the same bed, and eat at the same dinner table; yet rarely do they really experience each other. How is this possible? —It is because they are physically present, but spiritually and mentally absent. When Moses asked God His name ~ “God said to Moses…”‘I AM has sent me to you’” (Exodus 3.14). God is the great “I AM” because God is always in the present, He inhabits the present, and you will never encounter Him while you are time-traveling somewhere dreaming about the future, or in the past.
Only in Real Time
The bookshelves in the local Christian bookstore are full of volumes written about how to find God and how to pray, but rarely do they address the real underlying issue—we are AWOL (absent without leave). The solution to all of our needs is so simple it is mindboggling. Unlike us, God does not live in the past or in the future. He is always ‘present.’ God lives in the here and now. He is always and only found in real time. One of the most outstanding of the 7 Redemptive names of God is ‘Jehovah Shammah,’ which means—“God is present.” ~ “And the name of the city from [that] day [shall be]: THE LORD [IS] THERE” (Ezekiel 48.35). A lonely Christian is a sad Christian, and a sad Christian is a weak Christian. A strong believer, on the other hand, is a joyful child of God. Why? —because the ‘joy of the Lord is our strength.” ~ “For the joy of the Lord is your strength” (Nehemiah 8.10).
Joy is distinct from mere happiness in that happiness is a result of natural circumstances, but joy is a spiritual state produced by spiritual circumstances. Solitude and loneliness are the cancer that is eating away at the very fabric of today’s modern Christian society. It is a spiritual problem that not only affects singles and widows; it destroys marriages and tears beautiful families apart. Families are devastated because they cannot put their finger on the problem, they cannot identify just what it is that is tearing them apart. Yes, they lived in the same house for years. They shared the same home for decades, but they rarely if ever really interacted with each other because they were habitually absent, each one was lost in his private world of thoughts, worries & fears.
This is what electronic media has done to us. Our addiction to virtual reality has depraved our hearts & souls of the most fundamental of all necessities: life and love in the real world. Man is created in the image of God, the image¹ of love. To say God is a social being is a gross understatement… God is so indelibly communal by nature He is literally three persons in one² held together by perfect and constant love. Man is a love creature. He is a protégé of harmony and affection. There is no life without companionship, regardless of how successful one may be in a career or some other field of endeavor. Intimate daily companionship is absolutely imperative to man’s soul, to his nature. Love is life, and without love there can be no life.
The State of Eternal Oneness (love)
There can be no love until we recognize our state of absence from one another and consciously come back into the ‘present,’ back into the presence of Jehovah Shammah. We must find our way back to each other again and that can only be done by learning how to live ‘in the present,’ in the presence of Jehovah Shammah, in the perfect bond of love, where we are found together, united in body, soul, mind and spirit. Not merely in the same house, or the same room, but together in time, spirit, mind and soul—together in the present. God created man in a perfect state of ‘oneness.’ In Eden, the garden paradise, man was one with God, one with all of heaven, and one with creation. He was ‘present.’ There was perfect unity. We’ve been taken captive (death) by the knowledge (distraction) of good and evil. Adam did not know what loneliness was until he sinned and entered into spiritual death. When the Serpent beguiled him and he ate of the tree of ‘knowledge,’ Adam and all of mankind fell out of the blissful state of oneness, out of love, out of life; and into vanity, ego and selfishness… he died.
The devil and the spiritual darkness envelops the lost world around us in the current age cannot be present because they inhabit a perpetual state of spiritual death. The basic premise of death is that one can no longer be present; and therefore, can no longer experience life, the sublime state of love with another ‘living’ being. Therefore, man’s insatiable craving for all the delightfulness of love can only be found in the presence of Jehovah Shammah.
What Do You Think?
When Adam ate of the tree of the ‘knowledge3 of good and evil,’ he died and was instantly cut off from the ‘presence’ of God and from all other created beings. Every man to this day either lives destitute from God, trapped in uncontrollable tormenting thoughts that imprison and alienate him, or united to God and family and community by choosing which tree he will eat from, whether he will think about life (God-love) or the knowledge of selfishness and evil. It is time for you to come back to life, back to love, back to Jehovah Shammah. You can choose ‘good,’ or you can choose ‘God.’ It’s up to you. What will you choose?
For to be carnally minded [is] death, but to be spiritually minded [is] life and peace.
1. Genesis 1.28
2. 1John 5.7
3. Genesis 2.17
© L. Jonathan Blais 2021 All rights reserved. Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission.