Feelings do not dictate God’s presence. God’s promise does.
God may feel far away. Darkness may cover my sight, and sin or trial may cause me to wonder where God is in the midst of the mess. My senses can deceive me when I cry out for God to answer, but silence follows.
Just as God’s love is not determined by my goodness, God’s presence is not hinged upon my sight, or even the strength of my faith.
God is with me because He chooses to be, because He promised He would be.
When God set the Israelites apart, He gave instructions to Moses to make a special place for Him to dwell and meet with His people.
I will meet with you there above the mercy seat, between the two cherubim that are over the ark of the testimony; I will speak with you from there about all that I command you regarding the Israelites.
– Exodus 25:22
Put the mercy seat on the ark of the testimony in the most holy place.
– Exodus 26:34
The ark of the testimony eventually held three beautiful reminders of God’s presence and care. The ark testified to God’s standard of holiness (the stone tablets of God’s law), God’s guidance (Aaron’s flowering staff) and God’s provision (a jar of manna). Each of these pointed God’s people to their ultimate redemption through the Messiah. Above the ark of the testimony rested the mercy seat, made of pure gold, covered with the wings of two cherubim on either side (much like the living cherubim described by John of the majestic throne room in Heaven, recorded in the book of Revelation.) The ark of the testimony and mercy seat were placed in the most holy place of the Tabernacle, and then the Temple, sheltered by a veil where only the High Priest could enter once a year. That veil was torn from top to bottom when Jesus gave up His spirit on the cross and died.
God chose a seat of mercy to sit on and dwell among His people. God also waits to speak with me there. I must listen to God’s call in Scripture, above the cacophony of my circumstances.
God has never left me. He is there, over the testimony of His character, ready to refocus my heart and line up my life on His truth. He is there, above the mercy seat of the cross, where He willingly paid the price for my sin so that I could receive forgiveness and freedom.
Jesus gives me direct access to God, and the way is still open into the most holy place. God is there, and He has invited me to enter.
“I will meet with you there.”