God is with us. We find this affirmation over and over again in the Bible. We read people’s testimonies of God’s presence throughout history. Many of us may have experienced God in our own lives.
More than just a divine presence, God is also within us, giving us our existence. The air we breathe, the water and food we consume, the shelter and clothes for protection—everything can be traced back to God.
Dwelling in God’s life-giving presence resituates our priorities. Instead of seeing the short-term ups and downs, we can take the long view. We can consider the idea of God moving in history.
Consider an example from the Book of Ezra. Did God move Cyrus’ heart in Ezra 1:1? Or, did the Hebrew chronicler retroject God’s initiative into something Cyrus already was going to do? In either case, the outcome in Ezra (rebuilding the temple) brought glory to God. Thus, seeing God at work can mean answering yes to both questions. Yes, God moved Cyrus’ heart, and, yes, Cyrus decided to let the ancient Israelites rebuild.
Seeing God’s presence and activity in the world can bring us joy. Seeking to find God at work helps us see God’s presence. If we look for it, we will find it.
These days, there’s a lot to steal our joy. We don’t have to let it. God’s grace transcends this moment and can abide with us through whatever we encounter.