“Is the Lord among us or not?”.
Ex 17:7 NIV
We tend to think that God is to be found in places that are peaceful, beautiful, and quiet. In order to refute this sentimental idea of God somebody wrote a modern hymn some years ago that began, “God of concrete, God of steel”. Its message was that God is not confined to the beautiful quiet corners of nature. He is in the bustling city and the throbbing wheels of industry as well.
The Israelites suffered such physical privations on their desert wandering that they were driven to query whether God was a) with them at all on their journey and b) whether he was in the inhospitable desert that surrounded them. But he was – not when they felt good, but because he was the God of the promise and he had promised. His presence is an objective reality, not a nice feeling.
Christian disciples learn, sooner or later that “The truth that God is present in all places and at all times is not only a comfort; it is frequently a disquieting challenge. Indeed, if we have so sentimentalized our concept of God that we never want to flee from him it is doubtful if we shall ever want to cling to him either. ‘Where man is fully present, not fleeing his situation but persevering in all distress and joy, there God … becomes present, there man understands that he is not alone any more and no longer lives in vain’” (Soldier’s Armoury 1969, p126).
God was with the Israelites in their desert journey. He is with you as well, whether you are in your desert, riding the crest of a wave, or getting scorched in the burning fiery furnace of trial and judgment.
Lord, let me know you ever near.