“And he [Moses] said to him, ‘If your presence will not go with me, do not bring us up from here. For how shall it be known that I have found favor in your sight, I and your people? Is it not in your going with us, so that we are distinct, I and your people, from every other people on the face of the earth?” (Exodus 33:16, ESV.)
My husband, Nick, and I were just getting to know a couple from church, chatting together over lunch. The guys had discovered their mutual love of woodworking, and our new friend made an exceptional offer. His dad had recently passed away and left a Shopsmith woodworking system. Had Nick ever heard of it? This man already had one so he offered it to Nick gratis.
He had no way of knowing that just a few days earlier, Nick had been pining for the Shopsmith he’d given up when we moved overseas. He’d been looking online to try to find a used one, but they cost thousands of dollars—not in our budget right now. All we could do was entrust this desire to God in prayer. So it was abundantly clear to us that our new friend’s magnanimous offer was a God-inspired gift at a God-inspired moment—a moment filled with His presence.
As Jesus followers, we are distinguished from every other group of people on the face of the earth because we carry His presence with us. The people of Israel had a cloud by day and fire by night as they traveled through the wilderness to declare that God was with them. But we have something infinitely more precious—even if it’s not as showy as a pillar of fire. God’s very own Spirit dwells inside of us—a privilege that the wandering Israelites never had access to.
His “going with us” sets us apart—especially during this season when the COVID-19 virus is having such a profound impact on our lives. Others may also reach out to others with acts of kindness, but we have something extra, something unique: the presence of His Spirit infusing that kindness. Others may also extend a meal, a financial gift, or a helping hand to those whose livelihood is being impacted by this pandemic, but the hand we offer carries the heart of our God whose name is Provider.
During these days of “social distancing” and “sheltering in place” in response to the COVID-19 virus, we have the amazing honor of carrying God’s presence in a world that’s full of fear. That presence distinguishes us, empowers us, and offers us marvelous opportunities to participate in the coming of His kingdom “on earth as it is in heaven” as we all walk through these days of uncertainty.
How might you be distinguished by His presence today in the midst of this COVID-19 upheaval? Take a moment right now to welcome Him into your day and listen to His voice.
“Wondrously distinguish me by your steadfast love, O Savior of those who seek refuge from their adversaries at your right hand.” (Psalm 17:7 ESV, alternate translation.)
His presence with me distinguishes me and glorifies Him before a watching world.
~ Kathryn Kircher