At the beginning of February, I posed a question to my Facebook friends who don’t profess to be Christians what were their top 1-5 reasons? I really appreciated all of the honesty and thoughtful insights, and they appreciated being asked. One answer in particular really stood out to me.
My friend and former coworker mentioned a book, Religion for Athesists, where the author doesn’t feel in his heart the presence of God or Jesus. My friend gave the same answer as one of his reasons. I haven’t read the book yet, but I want to and will.
To be honest, I often don’t feel the presence of God either. After walking with Christ all my life and receiving Him into my heart something like 30 years ago, I know the ups and downs of the Christian walk. I know one can go a long time without feeling God. If you’re a Christian, this can be the Dark Night of the Soul, which goes back a long time. For example, St. John of the Cross spoke of the dark night, la noche oscura. This, I believe, is necessary for Christians. We feel alone. We feel as though God is nowhere to be found. But when we emerge from the darkness, we realize we were planted in deep, dark, rich soil. We grow during that time, it’s just too dark to see until we’re in the light once again.
Dark soil for days with no sign of life and then one day…breakthrough!
But I’m not even talking about the Dark Night of the Soul. I’m talking about going about our daily lives. It’s so easy to get caught up in what needs to get done—life—that we feel like it’s all about us and our microsphere. Sure, we read or watch the news and know there are things going on out in the world, but so often they don’t have a direct or immediate impact on our lives. We’re worried about things like not being late or what to have for dinner. Oftentimes as a parent in the U.S., I feel like we’re just worried about survival. I’m sure, though, this is a universal feeling. Sometimes this means making it through the day without crises, sometimes this means making ends meet.
Where is God in our busy lives?
I don’t know about you, but unless I’m intentional, I can go through a busy day without giving my God a thought. Does this happen to you? Someone who doesn’t believe in God could ask, “How can this happen? You believe in God, so why don’t you feel God?” The Creator is at work all the time, and yes, God sometimes interrupts our lives without our seeking God out. But have you noticed, that we have to be intentional? We have to seek God out.
God is like a Mom and Dad. Unless you’re a helicopter parent—which my husband and I are not—you are not on top of your kids all the time. You keep a watchful eye over them, but you also let them come to you when they need something. You help them grow by teaching and guiding them, but you also help them grow by observing them and advising them when they’ve tried things their way and are ready for your help. I believe God is like this. You also help them grow by being a role model, and Jesus is the best role model ever.
When I am intentional about reading my Bible, praying, meditating, trying to emulate Jesus, etc., I feel the Holy Spirit well up inside me. When a pang hits me when I respond harshly or am jealous, etc., I feel the Holy Spirit’s gentle but firm nudge of conviction. As a Christian, Holy Spirit God lives in me. I know it’s not the same for those who do not know God, but I do believe the Spirit is working on everyone.
The key to finding God is desire. If you want to find God, you will. Why? God knows you, and it takes two to tango.
Just like my son gave me his heart, we must desire God’s heart and give God ours.