I have come to realize as of late that I have been searching in vain for God in places I cannot find Him. I’ve known for some time of His absence which I found discouraging.
As a Christian I believe in God. I believe He is FOR me and not against me. I believe He wants to guide me by providence or through the gaining of wisdom or the advice of counselors or through Holy Spirit. (Yes, the “the” was omitted on purpose … we don’t say “the Jesus” because we perceive of him as a person, not an entity. So isn’t Holy Spirit the third “person” of the Trinity?).
If only God would meet me in my future. I have spent so much time looking for Him there. In my planning, my hopes and dreams, my anticipation of how my life will play out over time I pray and seek for God to show me His plan only to hear nothing.
The silence has at times caused fear, anger, doubt, confusion, condemnation, and a host of other elements not conducive for healthy growth. A darkness unexplainable. Has he abandoned me? Have I sinned against Him and He has turned His face away? Is He punishing me for something of what I know not of?
Then yesterday I realized what was amiss. It was my perception of God, companioned with my expectations of Him. i keep looking for God “out there” along my timeline of life. I keep listening for and looking for some grand plan or design that shows me the path He has chosen for me to follow into the future.
His response to all my efforts for His input? Silence.
And my response to His silence? Why?
Yet why have I been so surprised at His silence? How have I let this silence define me? How could I have overlooked one of the most basic tenets of our understanding about the nature of God? When God described Himself to Moses, did He not call Himself “I AM?” He did not describe Himself as someone from the past nor someone from the future. He described Himself as the eternal present.
God is the eternal present … not the future. He dwells in the present. He lives in the present. He speaks to me in the present. His concern for me is not what am I going to do tomorrow, it is rather what am I doing today, in the present.
Remembering that He is The Great I AM immediately impacts both time and location. He is forever now. And He is forever here in the now. When I jump into my future to look for God, I leave Him behind because He is the I AM living in the present. And when I ask Him to speak to me regarding the future I am met with silence. And when I look for him out there He cannot be found.
When I am looking forward in search of God down the road, He is standing behind me.
So rather than expecting God to meet me out there, I will choose to meet with God here … now … in the present. And if I listen to His guidance or words of truth to me today … tomorrow will take care of itself. Indeed, all the tomorrows will be erased in this life one day at a time.
And herein is the life of faith. A belief in the goodness of God coupled with an assurance that He will guide my paths for the future … one day at a time.
And He can be stubborn … theologians like to call Him immutable, meaning He does not change. If I choose to persist in demanding He meet me in my future, He will simply wait me out. And He has much more time to wait than I do. He has all the time in the world. Eventually I am going to die; He never will. I cannot win to change His mind. He is and always will be I AM. Nothing I can do or say can change that.
So if there is any changing to do, it needs to come from my end. I need to settle in my heart and mind that if I want to meet with God, it has to be today, not tomorrow. One step at a time. Step by step. Day by day. Meet with God. Listen to what He says. Then follow through.
Tomorrow? It doesn’t exist. All that exists now is today. And since God only deals with reality, this is where He is. This is where I find Him. And where He seeks to find me.
I realize it is my nature (as is most of us) to make plans for the future. Relationships and occupations and finances all call out from beyond today telling me I better be prepared. And while there certainly is some element of truth to that, this must be tempered with the only reality I have which is each “today” as I am given one.
Today. Only here will I hear from God telling me which way to go … for that day. Some of my todays will have more far reaching impact than others. Some of His words to me one day will effect many more todays in the future. But each and every day the goal is the same … Listen today for what He says, then follow through … today.
Help me O God to reign in my desire to set my own course in life. To determine my own fate and ask You to bless it. Give me the wisdom to follow You today, and trust You for tomorrow. You will speak to me for what I need to hear today; I cannot find You in all the tomorrows You have for me.