The gift of presence

I have two boys going through Bible instruction class right now, and at our church, a parent attends the evening classes along with his or her child. One night in class, we talked about the three “omnis” or the “alls” of God—if you’re not familiar, these are attributes that are unique to him only and qualify God as God: 

  • Omnipotence—God is all-powerful.
  • Omniscience—God is all-knowing.
  • Omnipresent—God is all-present.

Our pastor asked us which one of these attributes we’d like to possess. Son #1 (in true firstborn son fashion) chose omnipotence, claiming that if he was all-powerful, he’d also have the other two omnis—logic akin to wishing for more wishes from the genie in the lamp. Son #2 (my learner/book reader) chose omniscience, so that he would know what to do in every situation and have vast wisdom and knowledge. But me? I chose omnipresence. It wasn’t a popular choice that night among the class, but if we really pause to think about it, wouldn’t omnipresence be a great gift for all of us? Lately I’ve felt pulled in many directions, and the mantra “Be Present” has been a bit laughable at best and guilt-inducing at its worst. 

Let me back up—a mere couple of years ago, I was a stay-at-home mom (a SAHM, if you will, which is a funny acronym to me, a bit too zen sounding for the job it entails—it even rhymes with “calm” and is anything but). I was homeschooling the kiddos and loving it, but my husband was not fulfilled at his engineering job. Thus we embarked upon an adventure and bought a brewery—Jon makes the beer, I write all of the beer things, and we both drown in paperwork and payroll and everything that is included in making a small business go. Suddenly I’ve become a “working mom,” but since I still homeschool, I have all the kids with me all the time. Needless to say, I struggle with “being present” where I am in all situations. When I’m working at the brewery, I feel like I should take the kids home and work on fun art projects, bake bread, or hike up Mt. Laundry together. If I’m at home focused on the kids, I feel guilty that I’m not at the brewery helping my husband and getting this business off the ground. 

Even though my situation is unique in some ways, I don’t think my feelings are. I’m guessing many of you struggle with being present in all facets of your lives. Wouldn’t it be great to be able to be in all places at all times? At work and on vacation with your spouse? At the nursing home with your aging father and at deer camp with your buddies? At your kid’s basketball game and at your other kid’s recorder recital? (Just kidding, no one wants to be present at a recorder recital.) Ah, but we humans are so limited by time and space; there is only so much of us to go around, and we are spread so thin. But you know who’s not? God. Our God is so big. He is not just everywhere; he is everywhen. This is so hard to understand, and yet so awesome. It is my favorite of God’s attributes. The all-powerful thing is super important, and the all-knowing thing is amazing, but all-present? Whoa. All the time and in all places. And not just a piece of him here and a piece of him over there. God in his whole being is present at every point of our space and our time. 

King David knew this attribute of God well; he wrote in Psalm 139:7-10:

“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. If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast.”

A bit daunting, almost, a God this big. But oh, so comforting too . . . that a God this big would listen to each of our little woes and worries. That a God this big would watch over our children when we can’t be at two places at once, whether it be at a brewery or a recorder recital. But most important, that a God this big would have his Son enter time and space so that Jesus could die for our sins and allow us a relationship with this big God. 

Omnipresence: what a gift! 

Missy lives in Green Bay, WI, with her husband, Jon, where they own and run Copper State Brewing Company. She homeschools their four active children, oftentimes at the brewery, and they somehow keep learning in spite of her. Missy loves witty banter, adventures of all sorts, and coffee . . . lots of coffee. And Jesus . . . lots of Jesus. 

 

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