I have noticed in the times of my life where I am met with despair, I reach out for God. And although it sounds like the right thing to do, it gives insight into my misunderstanding of the true presence of God. It lays bare a reality of Western Theology. We do not truly grasp the true presence of God. It is almost as if we haven’t come to the realization that God is Infinite, Present, and Concerned with our lives.
God is Present
The fact is, if a God is infinite, then by definition, it is impossible for God to not be present. The Bible is not giving us a cute saying when it says God “Will never leave us or forsake us”. The truth of the matter is whether we like it or not, or even desire it or not, the presence of God is always around us and near us. So why the disconnect? Why is it that there have been so many times in my life where I have not felt the presence of God? The issue at hand is not an issue of presence, it’s an issue of mathematics. The issue is we only really see God as we see the world around us. We cannot see God, and therefore we struggle in acknowledging the Divine Presence.
God in the Everyday
Have we ever sat back and asked why we can’t “see” God? I disagree with this concept. I have seen God every day in my life if I know what I’m looking at. Like the original 12 disciples, we have an optics issue. We are looking for the powerful Messiah, the conquering hero. We await the Second Coming, not realizing Christ returns to our lives every day. Christ returns in the form of a sunrise, promising us a new day and a new chance. Jesus returns everyday in the laughter of children. Our savior returns everyday in the form of the beggar we pass by without a second thought. The Light of the World is found in the abused, uncared for, the orphan and the widow. Jesus returns to us every day and we ignore Him. We ignore Him because He isn’t showing up the way we want Him to. But the fact is that Christ shows up, the real question is: Do we?
Jesus in Disguise?
David Adam, in his book “The Cry of the Deer” describes a particularly sad instance in a 1960’s southern church. An African American gentleman desired very much to go to the beautiful church that was situated in his town. The problem was it was a white only church. As he tried to gain admittance, he was turned away because of his skin color. On the way home, the man comes into the presence of Jesus Christ. And he asks Jesus “Lord, why is it that I am not allowed into the church”? Jesus responded and said “I am not sure, I have been trying to get in there for years!”
Where to find Jesus should not be a question. A better question is “Where will Jesus meet me today?” An even better question would be “In what ways will serve the Lord through others today”. Maybe instead of focusing on looking for the rider on the white horse, we could serve starving children or underserved communities. Wherever there is pain, struggle, strife or despair, there we will find Jesus. The real question is how will we respond to the coming of Jesus Christ into our lives, with love or indifference?
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