In every arena of our culture, we have grown more accustomed to viewing leaders speak to crowds from video screens. Preachers preach, teachers teach, trainers train, comedians entertain, doctors prescribe, and musicians inspire all from the convenience of a video screen. From the comfortable safety of our devices and the detached nature of their mediums, we have grown accustomed to receiving information without experiencing connection. While we can see the leader, we have this understanding that the leader can’t see us. Even if the speaker had some type of video feed enabling him to watch us, we are guaranteed to be another number lost among the masses. Due to the height of the professional’s popularity, we accept that there is a limited chance to ever become acquainted with the one who inspires us so definitively.
Somehow this approach sneaks into our theology. With the vast number of needs and the immense responsibilities that God has, we tend to think that he is too busy and we are too insignificant to gain an audience with him. Is God even concerned or aware of our present status?
Your inadequacies rob you of the notion that God even cares to notice your current situation. While you might accept that you show up on God’s universal radar, you never imagine that you could show up on his refrigerator door. There are far too many interesting people for him to notice someone as inconsequential as you. You perceive God as displayed upon the screen of life providing answers, but you never anticipate that he will recognize you when you raise your hand with a question. Not only are we tragically incorrect regarding God’s proximity to us, but we are significantly stifling the life God has planned for us. Neglecting the awareness of the presence of God leads to a joyless, purposeless existence. You must awaken to the reality that God is not detached from you. In fact, he sees you more clearly than you see him. If you could truly comprehend the truth that God desires intimacy with you more than you do with him, your soul would eagerly leap to a repositioned nearness.
God is not detached. God is immanent.
The Immanence of God
The reason the attribute of immanence is so essential in our lives is that we have accepted an unhealthy sense of remoteness from God. Despite our preconceived notions, we do not serve a detached God with an arsenal of bodyguards protecting him within a gated community. He isn’t trying to keep us out of his hair. We have yet to bother him enough where we have gotten on his nerves. We are not following a religious leader who isn’t aware of the devoted followers lagging behind him. We aren’t another insignificant need upon the ever-increasing deified to-do list. If the sparrows aren’t forgotten by God (Luke 12:6), you can rest assured he has his eye on you whom he deems as superiorly more valuable than they (Matt. 6:26). You have never left his gaze.
The immanence of God means that he is intimately near to us.
The Almighty is almightily closer to you right now than the pages of this book are to your fingertips. He knows you better than you know yourself, and yet he is still crazy about you. The term actually means “remaining in” creation. While some religions claim that the universe is an extension of God, the Bible teaches that it is separate from him. While God is outside of us, the stunning reality is that he is still desirous to be near to us. God is present but distinct among creation, and yet he has intentionally positioned himself to be shockingly accessible.
Some will see the immanence of God as a contradiction to his transcendence. How could God be so far above us and yet so near to us at the same time? What is impossible for man to understand is possible for God to provide! The glorious nature of God’s relation to us is that he is so far above and yet so very near. While he is over all, he is also in all (Eph. 4:6). While he dwells upon high, he also resides with him who is low (Isa. 57:15). He is in heaven above and on the earth beneath – there is none like him (Deut. 4:39)!
The immanence of God is simply breathtaking when you consider the transcendence of God. You look amazed at the work of his fingers and stand spellbound by the trace of his heart. When you genuinely comprehend how such a transcendent God has come so immanently close, you can echo the psalmist who said, “When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place, what is man that you are mindful of him, and the son of man that you care for him?” (Ps. 8:3-4). He thinks of you. He cares for you. He is close to you. The most important being in the universe holds the most important things in your life as important to him!
God is not aloof to our situations or detached from our lives.
Travis Agnew serves as the Lead Pastor of Rocky Creek Church in Greenville, SC. His most recent book is Just (About) Married.
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