God WillDaily Reflection / Produced by The High Calling
For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him. And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together.
We spend a lot of words on intentionality these days. We seek intention in all we do—a gesture, I think, toward interpreting by lived performance the Scripture about all our words and deeds being hid in the purposes of Jesus. But we do ourselves a disservice in these conversations. With our focus always on what we can do to integrate our faith, with the energy spent on evaluating the success of our experience, we don’t always take the time to slow down and reflect on the ways in which we may already, without intending to, be integrated, be intentional, be caught up in the multiform life of God.
We seek the pursuit of God. But what if the pursuit would have us stay still for a time?
I was a senior in college, making sure everything I did had some sort of spiritual element to it, when Jesus decided to pack up the boxes and leave.
Sitting on the couch of a friend’s apartment, in a way that is difficult to describe—it wasn’t a vision, it wasn’t audible, but it was profoundly known—Jesus showed up and said, It’s going to be about trust with you. Then Jesus was gone. And God—the feeling of God, the essence of God, the sense in which my life was tinged by the presence of God—was gone. I spent the next year abiding in the wilderness of God’s silence, the texture of God’s absence.
During the year that followed God’s sudden departure, a lot of people would tell me that what I needed to do was do more. Again, pursuit. I needed to read more, pray more, whatever spiritual doing was popular at the time more. I tried that for a little while, but eventually those efforts calcified and fell away. Eventually, it was just me and the silence.
Can I tell you something about intentional living? Can I tell you the truth I’ve learned?
It was when I stopped doing that awareness of God began to return. It was when I stopped attempting to force God’s hand in the space between us that God began to be known again. It was when I stopped pursuing long enough to realize that I had relied too heavily on all sorts of spiritual things to facilitate a pursuit of God when God was ready for me to simply look up and say, “Hey. Okay. Here I am.”
Paul assures us, with his delightful frankness, that the pagans were not wrong when they suggested that, in God, “we live and move and have our being.” Everything we do is caught up into the life of God. Intentionally or otherwise, we’re dancing around in this Presence that is not too far from us, except when we try and contain it, try and demand of it what it has not given us to demand.
I had to stop pursuing God on my terms. My terms were the expectations of the common Evangelical din: if I do, then God will.
God will as God wills. Like it or not.
He is already present in everything we do, whether in silence or loudness or whatever else. God is pursued when I stop telling God all the expectations I have about how God will be known to me. God is pursued when I throw up my hands and say, “You’re already here. Where do You want me to get to work?”
FOR FURTHER REFLECTION:
What are you already doing well, right now, that God meets you in doing? Is there a spiritual practice that has become more demand for God’s presence than your response of love to God? Do you need to give it up?
O God, our time is in your hands and our lives are caught up into the mystery of you. Grant that by the mercy of your Son we may be changed each day into his likeness in everything we do, through the power of the Holy Spirit, who gives grace upon grace for every purpose we are set toward until we find our final rest in you, Amen.