“When one is thirsty one quenches one’s thirst by drinking, not by reading books which treat of this condition.” – Jean-Pierre de Caussade
“I have just been looking for God.” She said it so simply because it was a simple statement. It was someone in our local church, but it could have just as easily been anyone in the world of any faith background. My knee-jerk response was to assure her that she can stop looking so hard because God is here. But even at that moment, I was worried she would hear this as a statement about “our place/people of worship” as compared to others instead of a cosmic and Loving truth about our God anywhere she might go.
So why do we search so much for something/someone that is so infinitely present?
I was wondering the same thing later that night and saw more signs of the same illness from another perspective. Post after post on social media where followers of Jesus celebrated: “Wow, God really showed up (here, at this time and place) today!” (often followed by a specific explanation) I’ve said the same thing at times, but I’m realizing more that our vocabulary on this matters more than we realize.
- “And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.’ (Matthew 28:20)
- “Do you not know that you are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in you?” (1 Corinthians 3:16)
- “And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate, to be with you for ever. This is the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, because he abides with you, and he will be in you.” (John 14:16-17)
- “Where can I go from your spirit? Or where can I flee from your presence? If I ascend to heaven, you are there; if I make my bed in Sheol, you are there. If I take the wings of the morning and settle at the farthest limits of the sea, even there your hand shall lead me, and your right hand shall hold me fast.” (Psalm 139:7-10)
The infinite love of the Father has compelled God to make himself perpetually available and to reveal His omnipresence to His sheep. For our own safety, there was previously a veil between us – we would not survive in the presence of His holiness – but by the work of Jesus Christ, that veil (both symbolic and literal) is torn.
God is now literally everywhere and within us. The loving presence of God permeates, transcends and transgresses all boundaries. Yes, there are special moments and special places – primarily because of our increased awareness of God (who’s nature is always present and always active) in those moments/spaces. But to focus and search only for these moments is much like attempting to find a lit candle on the surface of the sun.
In the midst of realizing this, let’s also realize the extent of our Father’s Love. Knowing our inclination to search for lit candles on the surface of the sun – He goes out and lights them all over the place…like a Father preparing something special for his kids. While at the same time, drawing us unto Himself and hoping (because “Love always hopes”) that we will one day stop searching for and celebrating the candles – because we’ve discovered the source of blinding light already swallowing up every bit of our existence.
In response to all of this – comes the obvious question: If God is infinitely present, and our souls naturally thirst for and seek His presence – how can we increase our awareness of something that we live within every moment? How can I be aware of the skin that covers my entire body? How can I better taste that which I swallow? How can I be more aware of the oxygen that fills the air around me?
The “first step” has already been taken by God, making such awareness possible and stirring us awake to Him. Find/create a quiet space & close your eyes (stop being distracted by all the things screaming to be noticed), take a slow deep breath, and begin by praying gratitude for the Truth of God’s presence with you in that moment.
We take this moment for granted as Jesus teaches his followers how to pray (“The Lord’s Prayer”). He begins simply with “Our Father…” There was nothing necessary to secure/win/deserve the attention of God in the moment of our prayer. We already exist within the loving attentiveness of God…which is why we’re invited to “pray continually” (2 Thessalonians 5:17).
Knowing this…why are you still reading? 😉
(If you need help: find a place/time, or create such a space where you can “come away”. Open the Word of God prayerfully. If you don’t have a scripture already selected, Psalm 19 is a great one to read…slowly…and thankfully. Listen and watch for God – whose desire is to be discovered and known. Follow Him.)