My wife and I got a puppy a little over a month ago. She’s absolutely amazing—literally the dream pup. If there’s any issue we have it’s that she’s just a little bit too attached. It’s adorable, but whenever we’re around, she feels the need to be touching us at all times. If we’re having dinner, she’s sleeping at one of our feet. If I’m washing the dishes, her head is resting on my feet. If I’m looking in the fridge, she patiently waits for a treat.
Recently we began the process of crate training; getting her used to being calm and happy when we aren’t around. It was tough on both of us, but the first few times we walked out of the room were the hardest. When she realized we were gone, she would begin to panic and freak out. It took awhile for her to understand that when we would leave, we would always come back.
I wonder what Jesus’ followers must have been feeling as He prepared to leave them. I wonder what fits of anxiety they experienced as their teacher, Messiah, and friend ascended to be with the Father.
I’m sure they had their own moments of panic.
This is why Jesus’ final statement in Matthew’s gospel account is so important. He implored them to carry on doing the things they had seen him do (Matt. 28:18-20b) and then He told them, “Surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”
I’m sure that in the days, months, and years to come, Jesus’ early followers had to remind each other of that truth—Jesus was with them. Always.
He’s also with you. Always.
Brother Lawrence, a 16th century monk, once said, “You need not cry very loud: [God] is nearer to us then we think.” Lawrence lived an incredible life and devoted much of it to growing in his awareness of the nearness of God. He called this, “Practicing the Presence” of God.
Where in your life does God feel near? Where does God feel distant? Take some time and share what you’re feeling with God.
The story of the Bible can be told as a story of God’s “with-ness.” God’s heart, as we have seen, is to be with His people. Time and time again He chooses to move towards us, even when we don’t feel worthy. The story of the Prodigal Son in Luke 15 displays this well.
How does God’s pursuing presence make you feel? Share those feelings with Him, expressing your thanks to Him, especially for those times when you don’t feel worthy.
How might an increased awareness of God’s presence shape your day-to-day life?
Thank God for His love and presence and the truth that He is with you always, to the very end of the age.