Oh, there you are!
Where did you go?
If you have children, you may know the panic that comes from that moment when you lose sight of them in a crowded, unfamiliar place. That happened to me. We'd parked in a large parking garage and were walking to the Alamo in San Antonio when I lost sight of my son. He wasn't there!
We were ourselves a crowd of 20-25 family members, and I was near the back of the bunch. And I'm short. Hubby said he could see him with a cousin. But I couldn't, and the fear welling up inside of me was justified. After all, my grandfather had been kidnapped and traumatized as a young child and didn't see his family again until adulthood. And I taught Stranger Danger to schools of children. And Son's red hair always brought attention from strangers.
No matter how much Hubby told me it was okay, I just felt more lost and alone.
You see, something important was missing, and I felt it to my core.
"There" is more than a city
Jehovah Shammah [yeh-ho-VAW SHAWM-maw] is the LORD is There, and it is only found in Ezekiel 48:35, "The distance all around (the city of Jerusalem) will be 18,000 cubits.“And the name of the city from that time on will be: THE LORD IS THERE.” In this verse, it is a symbolic name for Jerusalem. But over the generations, this name has also come to be synonymous with God's divine presence and power.
Jehovah Shammah does not only exist as the LORD who is There within Jerusalem. In Ps. 139:7-10 we see, "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. If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast" No matter where we go God is there.
Psalm 46:1 is also reassuring. "God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble." Ever-present? Always there!
Benefits of Him Being There
Exodus 33:14 tells us how our God being with us is a huge benefit. "The LORD replied, 'My Presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.'” God promises rest. And in a global pandemic, I've had more than my share of sleepless nights. If you've ever had one, you can relate to just what a blessing rest can actually be.
But part of that rest that God promises - at least for me - comes from the fact that we aren't facing the world alone. In fact, this was my verse of the year for 2019: Isaiah 43:2 says, "When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze." And Zephaniah 3:17 says, "The LORD your God is with you, the Mighty Warrior who saves. He will take great delight in you; in his love he will no longer rebuke you, but will rejoice over you with singing.” That calms me.
Where is "There?"
So if the LORD is There, where is that?
- Father God is in Heaven on His throne - Psalm 11:4
- Jesus is seated at His right hand - Hebrews 12:2
- But the Holy Spirit is HERE with us - 1 Corinthians 3:16
And, as Psalm 139:7 said, Where can I go from Your presence? - because I'm taking Him everywhere I go! Which then makes me more aware that I should be more cognizant of where I'm taking Him... at least I know that HE won't wander off.