It’s another sleepless night. I’ve already laid awake in bed for an hour; thinking, praying. I’ve read two chapters in my book and have finally gotten out from under my heated blanket to dust off my computer and attempt to wrangle my thoughts into this post. This is starting to become a familiar feeling; a sensation that I can’t ignore. It’s inviting, but mostly annoying. I enjoy writing, don’t get me wrong, but most of the time the discipline of it feels daunting and sometimes I just want to fall asleep. Nope. Not tonight. The Holy Spirit has something for me here and He is not above annoying me into it. I’ve mentioned before that writing has become a fruitful spiritual discipline of mine. It’s become a way for me to really reflect on what God has been teaching me and organizing my thoughts into a clear, digestible format allows me to process them thoroughly.
In my last post, That I May Dwell, I talked about how I would be adopting the word ‘PRESENT’ as my focus for 2020. The truth of the matter is, we live in an incredibly distracted world, don’t we? It would be a lie to say I don’t feel overwhelmed with the thought of being present to God and present to my relationships. It’s hard!! Not surprisingly, however, God has been bringing to light an alternate meaning to the word ‘PRESENT’ in the last several weeks that has given me new hope and understanding.
Not only does God want me to be intentional about being present to Him and my relationships this year, He also wants me to know and experience that He is ever present. This new understanding isn’t really new at all. In fact, it may seem elementary to you. I hope it does, but I also hope it encourages and reminds you of how near God is. I love the way A.W. Tozer speaks about it in his book, The Pursuit of God,
Let us say it again: The Universal Presence is a fact. God is here. The whole universe is alive with His life. And he is no strange or foreign God, but the familiar Father of our Lord Jesus Christ whose love has for thousands of years enfolded the sinful race of men. And always he is trying to get our attention, to reveal Himself to us, to communicate with us. We have within us the ability to know Him if we will but respond to His overtures. (And this we call pursing God!) We will know him in increasing degree as our receptivity becomes more perfect by faith and love and practice.
I know some of that language is difficult to comprehend, so you may have to read it a few times, and I hope you will. His words are profound. It is just like me to put all the pressure to hear from God on myself; to make being ‘present’ some kind of performance. How often I forget that God is here. He really is. Sure, I need to put forth the effort to eliminate distractions fighting for my attention, but my God is fighting for that too. I don’t know about you, but I’m not satisfied with how often I recognize God trying to communicate with me. I am not satisfied with how much God has revealed himself to me. There’s a promise in scripture found in Jeremiah chapter 29:13.
You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all of your heart.
If this is a promise from God, I’m cashing in on it. But what if I’m making it too difficult? What if God is not hiding? What if He is closer than I ever imagined? If that’s the case, then there is only one solution. In Tozer’s words, my spiritual receptivity needs some fine tuning.
In some Christian circles, I’ve noticed a fear of over-spiritualizing everyday occurrences. Why are we so quick to write off what God might be trying to reveal to us? If God is here, if the Holy Spirit is living inside of me, why can’t I experience Him through a sunset? Why can’t He speak to me through an ice cream cone? That last one might be a silly example, or maybe it’s not. I’m challenging that thought this year. I believe it is rooted in fear and I think we are missing out on a lot of God’s goodness because we’re afraid of misunderstanding and making a mistake. Don’t you think God is glorified more through our expectation of Him showing up in our lives than our disbelief in His desire to reveal Himself through mundane situations or ‘coincidence’?
I know there is an appropriate amount of wisdom and relationship required for discerning the voice of God. That’s not what I’m talking about here, that’s another blog post. I’m talking about living your life, believing to your core, that God is near and you can experience more of Him today. His presence might not ever come through an audible message, but it can take many other forms. It can be an encouraging word from a dear friend, a fresh pot of coffee, a scripture that comes to mind at exactly the right moment, a smile from a stranger, a really good chocolate chip cookie, or in my case tonight, insomnia.
In 2020, I want to live knowing that God is ever present. And not only is He ever present, he is offering me an opportunity to experience His presence in this very moment.
The next time you step outside and soak in the sunshine, will you just for a moment acknowledge God’s nearness? Can you sense Him saying, “Can I have your attention?”
Thank you for fighting for my attention.
Help me to develop my spiritual receptivity.
Help me in my unbelief.
Your presence is available to me and I want more of it.
In Jesus’ name,