Matt 18:20: “For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them”.
Have you heard the following question voiced in deep frustration; God, where are You? Often, times of personal or national loss and calamity bring this question to the forefront of any plea for help and direction. Indeed, there are times that God does seem absent, yet we know in our hearts that He is not far from each one of us. In an attempt to seek Him out we follow many familiar paths in the hope of ‘finding’ God. Yet, Jesus said, “Lo, I am with you always, even until the end of the age”.
When we are searching for God, we are literally searching for ‘His Presence’. In the Old Testament, we see the priests and their interactions in the Tabernacle concerning the Table of Showbread (Otherwise known as the ‘Bread of the Face’). It seems to indicate that the priests could ‘see’ God as they turned their gaze upon this ‘Bread of the Face’. Therefore, since ‘presence’ is often translated as ‘face’ I suggest that when we ask the question; “God, where are You?” In essence we are requesting His Presence to be so close and real to us, that it resembles a face-to-face meeting with our closest confidant. And you may be surprised where you ‘find’ Him.
I was recently in Russia and I found God in a place I did not expect. In walking into some of the old established Russian Orthodox churches, I found a huge absence of His Presence. The face of His Son and His mighty works may have been on display for all to see, but I struggled to feel His Presence in this ecclesiastical setup. However, on another occasion, I went to a young church plant that rents out a Night Club in the heart of Moscow every Sunday to have their church services. I did not struggle to experience the Presence of the Living God in that Night Club. Truly, where two or three are gathered IN HIS NAME, His Presence is there. The vibrancy and life that emanated from the young Russian worshipers was a joy to behold. When some old church buildings in Europe are now being converted into Night Clubs it was refreshing to see a Night Club being converted into a house of worship. You can ‘find’ God in the most surprising places. God is not confined to a box of our own making.
They say that ‘Home is where the heart is’. I say to you ‘Home is where Jesus is’.
I’ll finish with a favourite song of mine from 1977:
“Surely the presence of the Lord is in this place.
I can feel God’s mighty power and God’s grace.
I can hear the brush of angel’s wings,
I see glory on each face.
Surely the presence of the Lord is in this place”.