Five-year-old Charlie sat on his father’s knee peppering him with questions. The toughest of them: How can God be at our house and at Grandma and Grandpa’s a Long drive away at the same time?
Touching Charlie’s shoulder gently his father asked, “Are you here?” “Yes,” the boy answered.
Then he touched his son’s knee, asking the same question: “Are you here?” Again, Charlie answered, “Yes.”
“If you can be everywhere in your body at the same time,” his father continued, “why can’t God be everywhere in his world at the same time?” Charlie seemed satisfied and went on to something else.
But this five year-old’s question is more challenging than at first appears. That is, in this almost immeasurably vast universe can God be where the Northern Lights shine brightly and at the same time in the semi-darkness of the rainforests in Brazil?
It’s an issue that stretches our faith, yet our Scriptures bear witness repeatedly to this “everywhereness” of God. The theological term is “omnipresence.”
For example, the Psalmist, David, prayed: Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence? If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths you are there. (Psalm 139:7,8).
From the wisdom literature of the Old Testament comes another assurance: The eyes of the Lord are everywhere, keeping watch on the evil and the good. (Proverbs 15:3).
Jeremiah speaks God’s words as his prophet: “Can anyone hide in secret places so that I cannot see him?” declares the Lord. “Do not I fill heaven and earth? (Jeremiah 23:24).
Eighty years ago in Sunday School back in Saskatchewan we children were taught a little chorus that went like this:
“Be careful little hands what you do; be careful little hands what you do. There’s a Father up above, and he’s looking down in love, so be careful little hands what you do.” (also mouth what you say; etc.).
The conviction that God is everywhere is reassuring for those of us who live under the Lordship of Jesus. The Proverbs declare: “The eyes of the Lord are in every place, watching the evil and the good” (Proverbs 15:3).
Our God is everywhere! There is nowhere he is not. So, we are never out of the range of his watchful eye and his loving care.
Believing this truth does us good in two ways: it sharpens our consciences to resist evil and enriches our faith to trust in his care wherever we may be.
Photo credit: Eduard V. Kurganov (via flickr.com)