That’s the joy of conversion—not bringing God from some distant star, but knowing God by a change of nature.
A.W. Tozer. Attributes of God: Journey to the Father's Heart. p. 136
How many of us honestly believe that God is with us? How many of us believe that God is interested in the details of our lives, and He wants to be involved with what goes on with us? If you are like me, there are been times -- too many to number, unfortunately -- that I believed that God was somewhere "out there" and was not concerned about what was going on in my life. The intimacy of God was forgotten and His presence was subverted. This was not because of anything God did...it was about how I pictured God and envisioned how He related to me.
There were many reasons why I felt this way. I felt I was not good enough. I believed that there were too many problems and issues in my life for God to be concerned. I thought only God was interested in the big stuff. These feelings put roadblocks in my life, and they took my eyes off of God nearness.
I read in Zephaniah an amazing reminder of God's love and nearness. Judah was quickly approaching their time of captivity. The first several chapters are full of God's judgment and the impending demise coming to the people of Judah because of their rejection of God. In the midst of Josiah's rule and his commitment to return the nation of Judah back to their covenantal relationship with the Lord, the Lord speaks through the prophet glimpses of grace and nearness in the midst of these words of doom. Listen to these words from verse 5 of chapter 3:
The Lord within her is righteous;
he does no injustice;
every morning he shows forth his justice;
each dawn he does not fail...
Don't read this too quickly. You may miss the prepositional phrase "within her." Re-read it and this time emphasize this prepositional phrase. Do you see the glimpse of grace? In the midst of their rejection of God and His covenant, God is with the people. He is near them. He is not standing on the outside; He is not commenting from afar off. He is right there with the people. God is with them.
How would your life change today if you truly believed that God is with you? What things would you do? What things would you stop doing? How would your task list change? How would your schedule change? Who would you notice that you may have previously ignored? For me, there would be a lot of changes.
Be encouraged, the joy of salvation, my friends, is that God is near us. We have not been abandoned.