I Am with You
Reading A.W. Tozer's book The Knowledge of the Holy, I thought it was important to start with Chapter 14, where Tozer talks about God’s Omnipresence. Perhaps this is because the Truth that God is with me and with you at all times is the most difficult and wonderful attribute of God for me to comprehend.
Tozer must have felt the same way. In the prayer that opens this chapter he writes;
“ Our Father, we know that Thou art present with us, but our knowledge is but a figure and shadow of truth and has little of the spiritual savor and inward sweetness such knowledge should afford. This is for us a great loss and the cause of much weakness of heart. Help us to make at once such amendment of life as necessary before we can experience the true meaning of the words ‘In thy presence is fullness of joy.’ Amen.” (The Knowledge of the Holy, 74).
He’s right isn’t he? We know that God promises to be with us, but we find this Truth difficult to grasp and it is the cause of much weakness of heart.
Times get tough and we wonder where God has run off to. We can’t fathom that He is simultaneously with us and with orphans in Africa and with Eskimos in Alaska and so we loose heart and wonder where He’s gone and when He will return to us.
But God’s Word promises that He never leaves us. It is His nature to be everywhere at once. He is big enough to be with us and with others. There is no need for Him to leave our side for a moment, even when others have need of Him.
Tozer reminds us;
God is infinite.
His being knows no limits.
There can be no limit to His presence.
He surrounds creation and contains it.
There is no place beyond Him.
“ He is there and he is here and everywhere,” Tozer writes. “ Not confined to tree or stone, but free in the universe, near to everything and next to everyone, and through Jesus Christ immediately accessible to every loving heart” (The Knowledge of the Holy, 76).
Isn’t that fantastic! As I sit in my living room, He is near to me. As you read this on your computer He is next to you. He cannot be contained. He is omnipresent, everywhere at once.
I certainly don’t understand this with my little human mind, but I am deeply comforted by this Truth in my little human heart.
I don’t have to ask God to be with me. He is already here. I don’t have to ask Him to be with you. He has never left your side.
And because He has always been with us, He knows us well. This is an exceptionally powerful Truth that should impact the way we relate to the world around us.
“The doctrine of the divine omnipresence personalizes man’s relation to the universe in which he finds himself. This great central truth gives meaning to all other truths and imparts supreme value to all his little life. God is present, near him, next to him, and this God sees him and knows him through and through” (The Knowledge of the Holy, 75).
He sees you. He is near to you. And he knows you through and through.
And because He knows us, He knows that this truth is difficult to wrap our brains around. He knows we will be prone to forget it.
That’s why he gives us this promise as His last words on Earth. At the conclusion of Matthew, Jesus is getting ready to return to heaven after his life and death on Earth. He gathers his disciples together on a mountain and He tries to explain to them where he is going and what they should do next. But they don’t exactly get it (sounds like us, right?). And so after giving them the Great Commission he offers these words.
“ And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age” (Matthew 28:20).
He knew that they would miss him. He knew they would forget His promises to be everywhere all the time. He knew that they would long for Him to be with them in the flesh. He knew that times would get tough and they would wonder where He’d gone. And so he reminded them, in the most tender and loving way, that He was with them. He would always be with them, even until the end of time.
He says the same thing to us.
“I am with you”
He is with you.
Forever and ever.