I woke up this morning, an hour before my alarm clock did, indecisive about whether to take a walk or practice coding. I opted for the latter, given the newly winter-esque weather. My room was still dark when I grabbed my laptop and turned it on. I thought, briefly, that I’d have to abandon my comfortable darkness for the sharpness of light and for the Face Recognition software to register me as my machine’s owner, but surprisingly, I didn’t. The Facial Recognition worked—I saw the Windows Hello software searching for me and once it discovered my presence, I gained access to my laptop.
“Man, this thing knows me even in the dark!” I thought, smiling as I walked to the bathroom to brush my teeth. And it’s a marvelous thing: that technology has advanced so much that we can—quite literally—work in the dark if we choose. What’s even more outrageous, is that that statement is true—and even more so—concerning God as well.
God Knows Us Even In The Dark
If I say, “Surely the darkness will hide me, and the light around me will be night” even the darkness is not dark to You. The night shines like the day; darkness and light are alike to You.~Psalm 139:11-12
There is a lesser-known name of God that I learned in college and it is one of my favorites: Jehovah-Shammah. In Hebrew, Jehovah-Shammah means “God is there” and that is… a glorious, necessary truth. (I’m trying not to cry as I write!) I sit and think back over my life, to the times when I know intervention could not have been made possible in any way were it not for Jehovah-Shammah. And then there were times, even recently, when I tried to hide from God or when I vehemently disagreed with Him and got angry, or times when I felt so broken, abandoned, or worthless, and yet still, He was right there with me.
A Glorious, Necessary Truth
It is a glorious, necessary truth that God is, has to be, a God who is “there”. What would you think about a God who leaves His creation to fend for themselves? Probably not a good God, right? Not someone you want to follow? Could you imagine what would have happened if God hadn’t been watching over David when Saul was repeatedly—constantly—trying to kill him? Or if He had turned a blind eye to Esther when she went before King Xerxes as a Jewish woman? Not only would she not have been Queen, but she also would have been killed!
Why is it a “glorious, necessary truth” that God is Jehovah-Shammah, that He is a God who is “there”? I’m glad you asked. I’ll start with the second part first. It’s necessary because for a creator to create and then abandon his creation would prove two things: that he is not powerful to keep his creation safe from destruction and he doesn’t care for his creation. I’ll give you an example to demonstrate:
Say a sculptor created a beautiful sculpture of you and you were set to meet him at a gallery to see it for the first time. When you arrive in the room where the unveiling is to happen, you step on, and around, shattered pieces of stone. You think nothing of it, “probably just scraps from the creation process” you think to yourself. When you finally get in the room, the artist has your sculpture covered with a sheet. When he uncovers it, you gasp! This is not what you expected; certainly not what you paid for!
The sculpture is covered in various places with dirt, mud, and leaves, and there are pieces that are broken off. You suddenly realize, with horror, that those shattered pieces you saw on the way here were from your statue! You demand to know what happened. The sculptor sheepishly tells you that there was a storm that came by while he was on lunch today and he couldn’t reach the statue to cover it in time. You counter his excuse by asking why the statue hadn’t been covered before he left for lunch or put here in the gallery where it would have been safe? He shrugs and says that it hadn’t crossed his mind. He apologizes. You scoff, disgusted and disappointed, and demand a refund. After securing your refund, you turn on your heel and walk away, vowing to never work with him again.
Thankfully, God is not like that. It is a glorious truth that He is there with you. Always watching, directing, and most importantly, loving you. You can deny His love or push Him away, yes, but that has no bearing on Him as Jehovah-Shammah. His presence is constant. His love is unending. His truth is unshakeable. And He recognizes you—knows you— fully and intimately, even in the dark.