There’s a big difference between being present with someone and being with someone. So what does it mean for God to never leave you or forsake you?
There’s a big difference between being present with someone and being with someone. Being present is a matter of logistics. It involves having the power and the willingness to put yourself in the same space as someone else. Being with someone, on the other hand, is a matter of the heart. It’s a conscious choice to align with someone not just physically but also mentally, emotionally, and even spiritually.
Unfortunately, we’ve all been to places where we’ve seen parents who are physically present with their kids but are not emotionally with them. It’s not that they are never with them emotionally, it’s just that in those moments the child is experiencing presence – not “with-ness”.
Sometimes, as children of God, we can find ourselves believing the same about God. Scripture says multiple times that God will never leave us or forsake us.
Deuteronomy 31:6 says, “Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the LORD your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.”
Hebrews 13:5 says, ‘Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.’”
But the Bible also says that God is with us.
In Isaiah 41:10, God says, “fear not, for I am with you.”
Joshua 1:9 says, “the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”
Jesus said in Matthew 28:20, “I am with you always, to the end of the age.”
Psalm 23:4 says, “I will fear no evil, for you are with me.”
1 Corinthians 3:16 tells us that we are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in us. The Greek word Paul uses for “dwell” means to inhabit because it’s one’s residence. It means to make something you were home. That kind of dwelling involves a conscious choice to not just be present but to also to be committed to the emotional connection and long-term wellbeing of the home.
We are God’s home. He is with us and he will never for sake us. Those are two different things that imply two different yet incredible promises.
First, you can’t go anywhere we’re God isn’t already there. King David came to this revelation thousands of years ago when he said, “Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence? If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there.” (Psalm 139:7-8)
This is a fundamental truth of the universe that we can’t fully comprehend. We are used to people being around in our lives, but not unconditionally. We often think that, yes God is present, but maybe he’s just close by and not all up in our mix when we’re doing stuff we feel like we shouldn’t be doing. Or maybe we just don’t acknowledge that he’s there in those moments. Either way, The idea that God would even want to remain close to us at all times no matter what, our best times and in our worst, is more than a little bit mind-boggling. But that’s who God is end he literally never leaves us or forsakes us, no matter what.
But then there’s another piece of God’s character. He’s not just a God who will never leave us, he’s also a God who is with us.
To be with someone is to be on their side, wishing and willing they are good in all circumstances. But for some reason, it can be very difficult to see God as someone who is rooting for us to win and willing it to be so in every moment. Of course, we have free will, so we don’t always walk it out perfectly, but how difficult is it to wrap your mind around the fact that God is not just present, but he’s also with us. He’s pulling for us to win and he’s constantly giving us ways to do so.
That changes how we approach decision making. That changes our outlook on the future. Change is the hope and the joy we have in our current moment and the love we are willing to spread to the people around us.
When we start to see that God isn’t just present, and he won’t just never leave us, but he’s also for us, fighting every day for our hearts and rooting us on to win in our battles against ourselves, our perspective on life is forever changed. And that change, seeing that the God of the universe is actually on our side no matter how good or bad we are, gives us the freedom to move forward in confidence to do the good work he’s put in front of us. Because at the end of the day, God’s not waiting for you to finally get your act together. He’s waiting for you to realize that all he wants is to call your heart home. And he knows, of course, that once you embrace the fact that his heart is your home and you release that to him, in the right actions will flow from that naturally.
So remember, God will never leave you and he will never for sake you, and there are countless stories both in the Bible and in the lives of countless people who have experienced held to account for that fact. God will also be with you, and there are just as many stories to account for that as well. So go forward knowing that God will never leave you and he is with you. And that makes all the difference.
We know that God will never leave us, we’re just not sure that he’s with us.