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Where God Is Found

Where God Is Found

Losing my son has helped me figure out where God is found.

I’m not proud of that fact. That it took the death of my perfect little man to let me truly see where God is, but it did. And, now that I’ve figured out where He is, I’m realizing just how much of my life I’ve spent missing Him. So, I’m going to let you in on the not-so-secret secret, so hopefully you won’t have to go through death to figure it out, too.

Where is God found?

Here, in this moment.

The one you’re in right now. And right now. And, again, right now. God is found in the present.

Living in the Past or Future

This may seem obvious to many of you. I thought it was to me, too, before Dominic died.

There is a difference between knowing something in your head, and knowing it in your soul, in a way that influences how you live and move and breathe.

Have you ever noticed just how much we don’t live in the present? I mean, even though technically our bodies are in the present, we actually tend to spend most of our emotional and mental time living in either the past or the future. We are either anxious because we are feeling badly about what has already happened, or feeling worried about what might happen. We do our jobs, we rush from activity to activity, thinking about what we’ve got to get accomplished, we lament the past, we plan our futures, and we completely miss this moment. The one we’re in right now.

The one where God is.

I have an incredible knack for being busy every second of the day, for working and planning and doing non-stop, and somehow never actually being truly present in any of it. I can, for example, endeavor mightily every second at teaching my girls, stress about what character qualities I am (or am not) teaching them, plan out what activities we’re going to be involved in, take them to those activities, make them meals and take care of their needs – and never actually really be with them. I can spend tremendous effort to do for my children, and completely miss what God is doing in and with and around my children, right now. How does that happen?

But it doesn’t just happen with my kids. You know that verse from Psalm 46:10: “Be still, and know that I am God?” Yeah, I’ve always been terrible at that, too. It’s kind of hard to be still and in the presence of God when you’re focused on every moment but the one you’re in.

How Tragedy Changes our Focus

Tragedy, though, changes all that. The death of my son effectively erased all of the concerns about anything other than the immediate present – where my entire world became focused on putting one step in front of the other in order to survive. Everything that seemed so important in my life suddenly shrunk down into one point – the point of dealing with the reality of where I was, and how to get through it. Life became very small, in an instant. Very small and very now-focused. Interestingly, when it did, all of a sudden I was able to see, to experience, the Lord in real, personal ways I never had before. I heard His voice more clearly, noticed what He was doing more perceptibly, and felt His presence more closely. Instead of being able to live life all on my own, all of a sudden I needed Him. Every second.

I truly believe it’s the main reason the Lord often chooses to walk with us through it, rather than save us from it, whatever “it” is – because tragedy brings us back to the present, where God is.

God’s Work and Provision In the Present

Exodus 15:11 says, “Who among the gods is like you, O Lord? Who is like you— majestic in holiness, awesome in glory, working wonders?” God is working wonders. The immediate present. Right now. I mean, God is the I AM. He is the eternal present. The God who encompasses the past, present and future all at the same time in a neverending present state of being. 2 Peter 3:8 says, “With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day.” Our God is not bound by time, as we are. Our anxiety comes out of our slavery to time – to living somewhere other than right now, in this moment. When we focus on God’s nearness, God’s presence, right now, our anxiety dissipates.

In Exodus 16, God gave manna, a food that came directly from Him, to the Israelites, to sustain them while in the wilderness. But the provision had a caveat – they were only to gather what they needed for that one day. When the people disobeyed and tried to keep some for the next day, it rotted. And when they disobeyed by trying to gather it on the seventh (resting) day, there was none – none came from heaven. God’s provision was not to be saved up for the future, or stored from the past…it was to be used for sustenance in the present. How much of our lives do we spend trying to save up whatever God moments we had, to last us in the future? How often do we neglect gathering God’s sustenance for the day, expecting that we can just get some at a later time? Or, even worse – how frequently do we just get so busy and distracted that we just do everything out of our own energy and power, and completely neglect to get anything from the Lord at all?

It’s not surprising that we spend most of our lives feeling rushed, stressed, overwhelmed, fearful or regretful.

I truly believe that to experience peace – peace that trumps anxiety, fear or sorrow – we must find God now. We must connect with, revel in, and interact with his presence in the present; take in the sustenance He provides just for today. When we live in the past, we get stuck in places the Lord has already redeemed. When we live in the future, we miss the Lord completely by trying to go ahead of Him. I really think there is just no way to experience the the Lord without homing in on the second of now. God is near. Right now. If you want to not be anxious, if you want peace – find Him in this very moment, regardless of what this moment looks like.

Jesus and the Right Now

Jesus said it: “Remain in me, and I will remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.” Remain (or, in some translations, abide). Greek “meno”. Present tense. As in, abide in me now. And now. And now.

Jesus also did it. It hit me that whenever disaster strikes, we always pray, first, “Lord save me from this”. Whatever the “this” is, we always want to be rescued FROM it. We move to the future, already anticipating what it’s going to be like, how awful it will be, and what we believe the solution should be. Then, if we don’t get rescued from it, we pray, “Lord help me through this”, as we continue to anticipate with dread what is coming. Interestingly, as I read John 12,
Christ did neither.

“Now my soul is troubled, and what shall I say? ‘Father, save me from this hour’? No, it was for this very reason I came to this hour. Father, glorify your name!”

Christ didn’t beg to be saved, as if it were all about him (even though it kind of pretty much was). He didn’t even spend time focusing on what was coming, and what God was going to do to get him through it. He said, “Father, glorify your name”. He shifted his focus to God’s glory in the moment. He must have known that the way to joy was not through his own salvation from the moment, but through God being glorified in the moment. What if we stopped asking for salvation from all of our horrible moments, or even asking for God’s help through those moments, and instead looked for God’s glory in those moments? If we were so able to die to ourselves that we didn’t even see ourselves at all, but, like Christ, only sought God’s glory, in every moment.

In, yes, even this moment. Even in the bad moments; even in the moments of death.

Focusing Small

I’ve written about it before – that God’s kingdom is the world of small. And, in keeping with that principle, when we pull down our focus from the huge room of distractions behind us and before us, into the small space of right now, we see Him. It is very difficult to keep our eyes there, on just this moment. We want to take running leaps by ourselves, and cross the room in a few large bounds. And when things are going well, we usually take off leaping alone. But the Lord wants us to just take one step at a time, and handle the step we’re taking right now, with His help and presence. Sometimes, it takes tragedy to slow us down.

We often look into the future, and think there is no way we can handle what we see there. But we weren’t made to look into the future. We were made to look only at right now, and to find Him right now. “His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness (2 Peter 1:3).” We have just the sustenance we need for this moment, if we choose to gather it.

God is found in the present. He is right here, right now. And when we see Him and experience Him in this moment, we get peace. I have a feeling those who are able to focus small and only on Him in the right now have gotten a taste of what Paul calls “being content in all circumstances”. And that after enough of those individual, present-focused moments with the Lord, they find that those moments have accumulated into what Christ calls “abundant life”.

One Response to “Where God Is Found”

  1. Kathie. Maxwell says:

    Move over Martha here comes Mary:)

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