God's Consoling Presence Part 1

The consolations of God - Fifth in a series

God is in all places at all times. We learn as children that he is omnipresent and exists eternally, outside of time. So, what does it mean when we say or read that his presence is with a person or nation? Or that the Lord casts people away from his presence?

The Bible has many instances of the word Presence or face of God. Jacob named the place where he wrestled with God, Peniel or presence. (Gen 32:29-30)

Psalm 114:7 instructs us to tremble at the presence of the Lord, and Psalm 100:2 says, …come before his presence with singing. David begs the Lord after his sin with Bathsheba, Cast me not away from your presence and take not thy holy spirit from me. (Ps 51:11) God proclaims to Judah, the nation, I will forsake you, and the city that I gave you and your fathers, and cast you out of my presence… (Jer 23:39b)

These diverse passages teach that God's presence can be terrifying, yet much to be desired, and it is possible for man to be removed from it. The theological truth is that God is omnipresent but our experience or perception of it is fine-tuned by many influences.

There is an expression, "If you feel far from God, who moved?" This implies the person has lost faith and therefore feels far from God. But is this always the case? That person may be in the midst of a great test of faith.

True, we may feel far from the long suffering, good Presence (Ex 34:6-7) because of our own blindness and sins, or try hiding from the Lord, to no avail, of course. (Gen 3:8; Jon 1:3) True repentance is then required for reunion with Him. (2 Cor 7:10)

Fill their faces with shame; that they may seek thy name, O LORD. (Ps 83:16)

And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart. (Jer 29:13)

But it is good for me to draw near to God: I have put my trust in the Lord GOD, that I may declare all thy works. (Ps 73:28)

When God's presence is a wonderful consolation, then his omnipresence is, too.

The Consolation of Certainty

The consolations of God - Fourth in a series

God has designed that we should have certainty in our faith. He has given us "many infallible proofs," (Acts 1:3) the testimony of the entire Word, His Holy Spirit, and the fellowship of the saints, to name some ways by which we are upheld in belief.

Nevertheless in the course of our lives we will have many occasions to cry out, "Help my unbelief!" (Mark 9:24)

No matter how hard we study to be approved (2 Tim 2:15), pray, serve, or do any of the things that uphold our belief, we will experience people, incidents and attacks by the Rulers of Darkness (Eph 6:12) that disturb our peace and faith.

Then, confusion, doubt and fear clamor for first place in the race to conquer our minds. Feelings of emptiness, anxiety and various sinful reactions and emotions sabotage us — We are shrinking back — the very thing we don't want to do. (Heb 10:38)

So, repent and return. Begin the journey home to Life. Thoughts and emotions must be brought under the control of the Holy Spirit, or one cannot function as a Christian.

Being a Christian means having FAITH—thinking and knowing, that

  • God is good
  • God is love and He loves us
  • God is in control, and He is working his purposes out
  • He is with us, helping us
  • We belong to Him; He is a careful owner
  • He is worthy of our love and praise
  • He has never made a mistake of any sort!

Therefore we set aside private hurts, refuse any long-term discouragement, and maintain an outlook that proves we DO trust in God; we WILL RESIST the devil (James 4:6), pray, think and act in ways that express we are under His providential, loving care, no matter how we feel or what the appearances are.

In time, assurance returns. And no pastime, vacation, sport or spree of any sort can bring the renewal of joy as will the peace of assurance. There is no true rest nor relaxation but in the peace of Christ that comes from certainty in our faith.

My peace I give you. (John 14:27)

Be still and know that I am God. (Ps 46:10)

The Sum of Comfort

There are times when only a person — someone who loves us whom we love — can be our comfort. Nothing nor anyone else helps.

Some examples of this based in Scripture are:

  1. When we have lost a loved one, God may send a special person to take his or her place: And Isaac … took Rebekah, and she became his wife; and he loved her: and Isaac was comforted after his mother's death. (Gen 24:67)
  2. God may replace the love we miss from a special one or refocus the subject of ones heart's desire: Leah was an unloved wife, so God consoled her with children. And when the LORD saw that Leah was hated, he opened her womb: but Rachel was barren. (Gen 29:31)
  3. God may enlarge our family circle or restore to us a distant member: Naomi was bitter after the loss of her sons and husband, “Call me Mara: for the Almighty hath dealt very bitterly with me.” (Ruth 1:20b), but when Ruth (her bereaved daughter-in-law) married Naomi’s kinsman she gained a grandson. Her friends marveled, “And he shall be unto thee a restorer of thy life, and a nourisher of thine old age: for thy daughter in law, which loveth thee, which is better to thee than seven sons, hath born him.” (Ruth 4:15)

God designed us to cherish the comfort of a loved one. Nevertheless, as we go through life we will have times of aloneness even if married and in the midst of a company of people. Then, we need God's comfort, and we understand why he sent his Son to be our brother and savior.

Jesus Christ was, for a time, human as we are, even though the heir of all things by whom God made the world. (Heb 1:2b) For a brief span he was made a little lower than the angels and tested by suffering as we are. (Heb 2:9-10)

That is why he can comfort us. Though our high priest, he can be touched with the feeling of our infirmities, having experienced them exactly as we do, but without sin. (Heb 4:15)

Some special people understood from the start who he was. One of those was Simeon, a devout man who was waiting for the consolation of Israel (Luke 2:25). He cradled baby Jesus, saying, Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace, according to thy word: For mine eyes have seen thy salvation, Which thou hast prepared before the face of all people; A light to lighten the Gentiles, and the glory of thy people Israel. (Luke 2:25-32)

Jesus is the consolation of Israel, the sum of all comfort, the whole greater than its parts. And the spirit of the LORD shall rest upon him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the LORD. (Isa 11:2)

When he knew it was his time to die, he promised to send One in his place, the Holy Spirit: And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever; Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you. I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you. (John 14:16-18)

He knows our need for consolation and the love of a special Person.

Attention Readers

Have you visited the Biotech Blog on this website? Find information and resources to help you think about biotech as a Christian.

During the summer of 2017, I explored the topic of kidney donation. Is it right for a society to permit that? To encourage it? What do you think? Read the Live Kidney Donation Series!

Should you sign your driver’s license to be an organ donor? Is cremation OK with God? Do these practices undermine the Christian doctrine of the Resurrection?

Learn more. The conscience cannot function without facts.


Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid. -Mat 5:14

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