If you wonder where God went, look around you. He’s closer than you think.
In the words of the Psalmist: “the world and all that is in it belong to the Lord; the earth and all who live on it are his.”
In Paul’s speech to the gentlemen of Athens – who although considered religious, did not know the God they worshiped – Paul proclaimed that the God they seek, did not live in their temples and shrines, as though He was created by man, but spoke to their ignorance by telling them that they, and all the earth was created by God, and not the other way around. He went on to say that, He has determined the times of their existence and the limits of their habitation, so that they might search for God, in the hope that they might feel for him and find him—yes, even though he is not far from any one of us.
The Psalmist proclaimed that, every one of [our] days [were] decreed before one of them came into being – meaning that we are part of his creation, and our days on earth were numbered before we were born.
Benedictine spirituality emphasizes that God is manifest in all of His creation – man included – so we don’t have to go very far to find him. The psalms are replete with descriptions of creation and its connectedness with God, which is why Benedictines, for example, pray the psalms as part of their liturgy – in recognition of that connectedness with God and his creation, and knowing that as we seek him, he is never far from any one of us.
In The Weathering Grace of God, Ken Gire introduces his readers to John Muir, a renowned mountaineer and founder of the Sierra Club, who, along with the Apostle Paul, believed that the natural creation revealed the power and majesty of God. He goes on to describe Muir’s encounter with God in creation, as so real that sharing it became an evangelistic obsession.
A Lesson For All
When searching for an encounter with God’s presence (Romans 1:20), we need to be attentive to both the ordinary and the majestic.
Addressing God’s presence and prayer, C.S. Lewis writes:
An ordinary simple Christian kneels down to say his prayers. He is trying to get into touch with God. But if he is a Christian he knows that what is prompting him to pray is also God: God, so to speak, inside him. But he also knows that all his real knowledge of God comes through Christ, the Man who was God—that Christ is standing beside him, helping him to pray, praying for him. You see what is happening. God is the thing to which he is praying—the goal he is trying to reach. God is also the thing inside him which is pushing him on—the motive power. God is also the road or bridge along which he is being pushed to that goal. So that the whole threefold life of the three-personal Being is actually going on in that ordinary little bed- room where an ordinary man is saying his prayers. The man is being caught up into the higher kinds of life—what I called Zoe or spiritual life: he is being pulled into God, by God, while still remaining himself.
When we pray, we should do so knowing that God is near, and wait for his answer in quiet contemplation. If we have an expectation of what the answer should be, and it is not revealed in that way, it is not because God is not listening to us – it maybe us who are not listening to him.