Even though I have had many years of physical pain and disease, I dislike speaking of it on Facebook or even posting about it on my blog.  This is largely due to the response that I receive when I use my body’s struggles to point out spiritual insights I gain while on my journey.  It seems that God has often pointed to physical situations in order to bring home a truth about His character.  Usually, dear friends are more interested, though, in my terrible plight physically than to the underlying message of hope and life that I long to give.  So, I usually remain fairly quiet about the extreme nature of my illness.

Today, though, I realized that perhaps I could take the opportunity to remind anyone who is remotely interested, that there is a truth about God which is often ignored when we find ourselves in certain situations.   It is a valuable understanding, one that is given some lip service, but is often not treated as a valid foundational issue when troublesome situations arise.  The truth I’m referring to has to do with the location of God.  Where is He?

I guess first there has to be the stated obvious – God is spirit and the location we are talking of is His spiritual location.    The Bible says that Christ lives in those who are part of the Body of Christ.  We ask Jesus to come into our hearts and say that we have “given our lives to God.”   Romans 8:9 speaks of the Spirit of God dwelling in us.  Colossians 1:27 talks of Christ in you, the Hope of Glory.  John 15:5 describes us abiding in Him and He abiding in us.  Jesus prayed to His Father in John 17 “that they may be one in Us”.

Prior to the glorious redemption which made us partakers of His divine nature and part of His very body, David asks the question in Psalm 139 – “Where shall I go from your Spirit?  Where shall I flee from your presence?”  He describes heaven, hell, in flight, underwater, and the middle of darkness with the bottom line conclusion of “even there your hand shall lead me, and your right hand shall hold me.”  Even without the recognition of 1 Corinthians 6:17 that “he who is joined to the Lord becomes one spirit with Him”, we are assured throughout history that God is ever present, in every place, always.

This sounds so very truth-filled and simple and yet……..some things that we engage in don’t make sense if all of this is so true.

Why do we go into a building once or twice a week to meet with God?

Or why do we invite people to the altar to find God?

Why do we invite God (who is ever present) to come when we’ve gathered together?

Why do we have to ask certain people to get God’s attention in order for certain things to happen in our lives (like healing prayers, prayers for supply, etc.)?

Why do we GO to God in prayer?

Why do we look for God in situations?

What makes us treat God as though He is the unwilling guest we must coerce into joining us in our endeavors?

When we ask Him to come and help us, where is He coming from and how long will it take Him to get there?

Why do we speak of certain places as being “sacred”, a physical place that God occupies more than somewhere else?

Why do we speak of God coming down when we gather together or how God “really showed up” as though He was engaged in some other activity and finally decided to grace us with His presence?

We talk of feeling the presence of God and that feeling being the premise on which we decide the reality of His presence.

I am currently battling with kidney infections in my one remaining kidney.  My left kidney was removed after seven years of kidney infections.  The recurring infections hold the possibility of eventual life on dialysis, especially if the reason for the ongoing infections is not found.  I am always in pain and sometimes it is debilitating.  The truth is, though, that I am not concerned with decay and death of my physical body because I agree with Paul in Colossians 3:2 “You are dead and your life is hid with Christ in God.”  The life I live today is the life of Christ.  If I live that life with pain in my kidney – it doesn’t change that reality.  If I live life without pain – it doesn’t change that reality.

When Christians – those who are indwelt by the Spirit of God – live as though it was about the physical life here on earth, we are living as though our union with Christ is not true.  We live as though we are asking the question “Where’s God?”  Maybe if we do all the things He spoke of in the Bible, He’ll make my earthly existence the way I’ve decided would be best.  Maybe if we pray the right prayer, exhibit the right amount of faith – He’ll remove the obstacle of pain, difficulty, or struggle that is causing me to be uncomfortable.

Some of the responses I receive in response to my sickness are:   “Oh, I will pray that God heals you and that the pain is gone.”  “How terrible!  I pray God somehow brings you relief and healing.”  “I just feel so terrible for you.  I can’t imagine how you are coping.  You’re in my thoughts and prayers.”  These sound, at first, like compassionate, loving concern and yet I seldom have responses which cry aloud with the truth that nothing is amiss in the Kingdom of God and that I, His child, am still loved, accepted and cared for completely.  If the rest of my life is spent in a place of physical trauma, it will never affect the truth that He is my only life and He is my everything.

If we are filled with the Spirit of God, joined to the Lord, One with Jesus as He prayed in John 17, what else is there?  Can we tell the One who is our life that we don’t like the life that He is living through us?  Do we tell the Holy Spirit (whose temple we are) that we don’t like the stuff happenin’ at the temple this week – He needs to change it?  We must not be fully convinced that we are no longer own – we have been bought with a price.  We must still have the mistaken notion that our life is somehow within our own control and that our desires, plans and concerns are of the utmost importance.

Once you embrace the truth of Galatians 2:20 and rejoice that it is yet not I, but Christ – life is the greatest adventure ever.  There is no limit to what we can accomplish as the life of Christ is manifest in and through us.  Our selfishness is no longer the point of reference – it is all about the King of Kings and Lord of Lords.

And, when asked where God is, we can open wide our arms to the world as we exclaim   “He is Here!”