Years ago, I used to think God was found under the steeple, at the communion rail, and in the liturgy.
And yes, of course, He is very much present in the church.
But oh, let me never again forget that He is also very much present in me – common, ordinary me. Our ever-present God is not demanding to be discovered at the altar on Sunday mornings. He can be found inside the miracle of me … and inside the miracle of you. Can you sense Him?
“Open you eyes right now and look. The one who is perfect love is alive in your room …”
– Gregory Boyd, author of Present Perfect: Finding God in the Now
This morning, I finished chapter seven of Boyd’s book. I double-underlined the chapter title: “The Father Is Always Working.”
Because He really is.
Indeed, ours is a God who does not slumber. He is awake to our every need, and He calls out to us: “Are you awake, too?”
When I awoke to this midsummer Iowa morning, those words rolled through my blurry subconscious: Are you awake? The words have been the repeated refrain of Boyd’s book. (He’s even added sticky-note reminders asking that same question throughout these pages.)
The question has been an alarm-clock for my soul. Again this morning, I could answer the Sacred Alarm with these words on my lips: “Yes, Lord, I am awake. I am aware of your presence. And Father, keep me ever-mindful that you are near. You. Are. Here.”
Far too often, I have awakened to the groaning reminders of my to-do lists. As an active volunteer in my church, many of those responsibilities are directly related to the advancement of the Kingdom. Yet, it amazes me how quickly I can lose an awareness of God’s presence even while doing church-y things. I can be designing a Power Point presentation for worship, for instance, and completely forget about the Object of my worship because I’ve gotten myself all wrapped up in the font-size!
In the seventh chapter, Boyd once again reminds us that we can easily become consumed with the future and all of our “to-dos,” meanwhile missing the miracle of God’s presence now.
Boyd writes: “The most trivial circumstance and most insignificant moment becomes a sacred moment when we invite God into it.”
That means that God is at work in my every day – every single day. He’s engaged in the present moments of my ordinary life – playing Barbies with my daughters or washing the breakfast dishes — — as much He’s present at a Women of Faith conference. God is at work during tuck-ins and bedtime prayers, as powerfully as He’s at work during a tent revival.
And He’s calling me to wake up to His presence, to “bring his Kingdom into this moment.”
As I near the end of Boyd’s book, the challenge for me will be to remain ever-aware of God’s presence. Thankfully, as a mama of two, I have two God-attuned daughters to keep me mindful. They get what it means to be fully awake.
A few months ago, as we wrapped up bedtime prayers, I told our youngest: “Remember, Anna, you can pray to God any time, not just at supper or in bed. You can come to God wherever you are.”
She stopped me short: “Don’t say ‘we come to God.’”
“Why not?” I asked.
“Don’t say we come to God, because He’s always at us.”
Indeed, He is always at us. We don’t have to run to the altar or into the comfort of our religious rituals to find the Father working.
God is now. God is here. God is “at us.”
And I’ve got my eyes open. I’ve got to stay awake. For I don’t want to miss any miracles.