By: Crystal Mazzuca
Understanding the Presence of God in the Highs and Lows of Life
Have you ever wondered what it must have been like for Adam and Eve to walk in the garden with God Himself? His presence literally beside them? Walking, talking, laughing, dwelling, and genuinely enjoying being side by side with the Creator.
Then comes that moment in Genesis 3:8. Adam and Eve had eaten the fruit, sinned against God, and suddenly that joy-filled intimate relationship turned to one of shame and fear as they ran and hid from that incredible presence.
The presence of God is something we were created for, yet because of sin, we can feel like it ebbs and flows with our situations, suffering, and self-inflicted separations.
Here are three things to remember about the presence of God that can help us, the kids we care about so much, and the world that is always watching us.
The Presence of God Never Changes
That moment when Adam and Even hid from God, their sin hadn’t driven Him away—they left on their own accord. In His love, God’s presence is with His people even when we don’t deserve it. (Psalm 139:7-10; Deuteronomy 31:8; Romans 5:8)
His presence in our lives is based on His love for us—not on our own sin and not on our circumstances. This means that in the best of times and in the worst of times, His presence never changes. He doesn’t leave. He’s always there.
Seeing His Presence in the Highs Will Help Us See It in the Lows
When Job’s life fell apart, his first response was to bless the Lord. Why? Because he saw every good thing in his life as a gift from God—not as anything Job was owed or as a result of his own strength and determination.
When David’s son died as a result of his sinful choices, he was able to worship the Lord. Why? Because David was already in the habit of worship when things were good.
When we are on a mountaintop in life—when things are going well, when we are feeling blessed and wonderful—let’s remember God. Let’s remember His presence, His power, and the way that He is working in our lives. Let’s see that every good and perfect gift is indeed from Him.
When we do that, we get into the habit of seeing His presence all around us. That means when tragedy strikes, when suffering comes, or when our own shortcomings cause trouble in and around us, we are still watching and noticing His presence around us. Just because we don’t see His presence as clearly as we used to be doesn’t mean it isn’t there.
Rejoicing in God When He’s Near Will Help Us Cling to Him When He Seems Far
We all know that there are times when God feels closer than others. So, what do we do in the moments when He feels far away? In 1 Kings 19, Elijah felt alone and afraid. He even said that he wanted to give up, yet his honesty and conversation with the Lord shows us that he still felt connection and desire for closeness.
What do we do when God feels far away? Like in any relationship, we don’t give up and we don’t give in to feelings of wanting to give up. We lean in. We are intentional about spending time with Him. We change up our routine and try new ways to connect.
But, most importantly, we remember the truth of who He is and what our relationship looks like. Just because we don’t feel like God is close doesn’t mean He isn’t there. No matter what may interfere with our closeness, those healthy habits we develop when He does feel near will help us to cling to Him when He seems far.
As adults, dwelling in the presence of God in the highs and lows of life will set an example for the kids we minister to do the same. When we share with children about how we look to and rejoice with the Savior in the highs and seek Him out and cling to Him in the lows, they will come to see that the presence of God is something they can always rely on. And that can make all the difference in the future faith of a child.
Crystal Mazzuca is a Content Editor for Lifeway’s Hyfi and Kids’ Short Term Studies. With an MA in Christian Education Administration, she has a passion to encourage and equip leaders to impact the next generation for Christ. She’s spent the last 20 years in Kids, Student, and Family Ministry and loves serving both the big C church and her local church in Olympia, WA. Crystal loves reading, going to the beach, and playing video games with her 3 sons.