Therefore God is everywhere, utterly vast, and everywhere right at hand, according to His own witness to Himself; I am, He says, a God at hand and not a God afar off.
- Columbanus, Sermon I (Irish, 7th century)
"And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age."
- Matthew 28.20
So easy to confess. But do we experience the everywhere-presence of God, the weight of His eternal vastness, His holiness, His steadfast love and faithfulness? Do we pass our days distracted by mundane things and miss the greatest, most obvious reality we could ever know?
Jesus is with us always. His Spirit dwells in our souls. His angels accompany us on our way, guarding and guiding us in ways too mysterious to describe, but real nonetheless. Our Father watches every step of our way (Ps. 1.6). We are nowhere without divine accompaniment, everywhere escorted by the power that spoke the worlds into being.
Why is it so hard to know this presence? To engage with God in His glory? There we may know fulness of joy and pleasures forever more (Ps. 16.11). Yet it eludes us.
Columbanus continued, "Who shall examine the secret depths of God? Who shall dare to treat of the eternal source of the universe? Who shall boast of knowing the infinite God, Who fills all and surrounds all, Who enters into all and passes beyond all, Who occupies all and escapes all?"
Only those who believe the Lord, who seek Him diligently, look and listen for Him attentively, commune with Him continuously, and live each moment of their lives "under the heavens" rather than merely "under the sun."
These are they whom no earthly trouble or upset perturbs or dislodges from their joy and peace. These are they with whom it is ever truly well with their souls. They who know the presence of God do indeed boast of knowing Him, and their boasting is filled with joy and hope and urgent invitations to one and all.
Do we know God in this way? Do we know Him as God at hand, and not just God as an idea?
Let us press on, brethren, let us press on to know the ever-present God at hand.