“Where shall I go from your Spirit?  Or where shall I flee from your presence?” (Psalm 139:7)

It’s what everyone’s talking about.  It’s on everyone’s mind.  It’s everywhere you go:  the grocery store, the beach, at home, sporting events, concerts, the news; even the church is affected.  All of life is engulfed by it.  It seems as though it’s… omnipresent. 

But, of course, COVID-19 is not omnipresent.  Only God is.  The virus that causes the disease is part of the created order and so it is finite and limited to specific physical locations.  But God, as the Creator and Infinite Spirit, is not limited in any way; not by time and not by space.  Just as God is Eternal (time), so He is Omnipresent (space).

Omnipresence means that all of God is present in all places, in all things, at all times.  He created all things, sustains all things, and inhabits all things.  But God is not the world, and the world is not God.  He is present in and with the finite and material creation, but He is not physically part of the creation, because He is infinite and immaterial.

 If we allow the current pandemic to dominate our thinking 24/7, we make COVID-19 an idol that demands and keeps our attention; as though it truly were omnipresent.  If we give in to fear and panic, we abandon our worship of the True God Who promises to always be present with us, and instead we devote ourselves to a false god that makes no promises but only threatens us with sickness, death, and financial ruin.

But our God exhorts us, “Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand” (Isa 41:10).  How can we be afraid, when God is with us?

Rather than obsessing over things we can’t control, let us resolve to set our hearts and minds on Him Who has all things under His control.  God’s omnipresence should give us comfort that we are never alone.  God is available for us anytime and anywhere; no appointment needed; walk-ins are welcome. 

When Jesus promised us that “Where two or three are gathered in My name, there am I among them” (Matt 18:20), He didn’t just mean that His divine essence is everywhere by its nature (though that’s true); He meant that He is always with us in a personal and relational way.  And so He also says, “I am with you always, even to the end of the age” (Matt 28:20), and “I will never leave you nor forsake you” (Heb 13:8).  The omnipresent God is Immanuel—God with us—now and forever.

The ancient words of Psalm 23 ring true for God’s people even in the Age of COVID:
     “Though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil… ”
     Why will I not be afraid?
     “ …for You are with me.”

God, and God alone, is omnipresent.  No matter where we are; no matter the circumstances, we can always say, “The LORD is here.”