“Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.”- Joshua 1:9
In Chapter 1 of God is Closer Than You Think, John Ortberg states that the most frequent promise in the Bible is “I will be with you.” God is determined to be our dwelling place. An ancient sage named Thomas the Recluse said that we need to find a place in our hearts where we can speak to the Lord. Pastor Ortberg adds that children often perceive such spiritual truths in a way that far surpasses what they’ve been taught. A 5 year old daughter of friends of the Ortbergs once said, “I know Jesus lives in my heart, because I can feel him walking around in there.”
Consider, the author asks, what happened to Jacob when he was on the run from Esau. Genesis 28:11 tells us that Jacob stopped for the night at a “certain place”. In other words, it was no place in particular, nothing special. When Jacob awakened he commented that the Lord surely was present in that place, but that he wasn’t aware of it.
Each moment we live outside the awareness of God’s presence is akin to spiritual sleepwalking. Pastor Ortberg summarizes Jacob’s discovery:
“Apparently it is possible for God to be present without the person recognizing that he is there. Apparently it is possible that God is closer than you think.”