We may ignore, but we can nowhere evade, the presence of God. The world is crowded with Him. He walks everywhere incognito. And the incognito is not always hard to penetrate. The real labour is to remember, to attend… in fact to come awake. Still more, to remain awake.
So wrote C. S. Lewis in his Letters to Malcolm: Chiefly on Prayer. It is a wise observation. That the world is crowded with the presence of God is both clear and confusing. Clear, when it comes to the wonders of creation, the joys of creativity and conversation and the sheer wonder of grace seen in the death and bodily resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ. Confusing, because everywhere we observe and experience sickness, death and the ravages of human pride, sin and indifference.
For Lewis, it all came together when he became firstly committed to theism, the belief that God is personal and intimately involved in the world He created, and then to the belief that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. Once we recognise that Jesus is God and that as He lived among us, as man and as God, the incognito and the cognito, we can see everything else in a new light.
The confusing aspects of our world, whilst evoking from us a continuing and even greater sadness, nevertheless become clearer. Human pride expressed in its many different faces of abuse, gossip, hate and murder become clear evidences of the choice to step away from God’s will, written both in scripture and conscience. The events so outside of our control, like earthquakes, remind us that God, not we, are in control and that our planet bears the effects of Adam’s rebellion.
Read through the lenses of the Bible and especially the gospel, my own world, begins to make sense. Amazingly, God has not abandoned nor lost interest in his world or in me.
Not only do I see His hand everywhere but I see His heartbeat at every turn. Providing for us through abundant rain and seeds that firstly died and then reproduce. Granting to us opportunities to find love and support from others even where there has been heartache.
Like Lewis, my challenge is to remain awake and not be lulled into sleep by the tranquilisers this world offers in place of God.
Earlier Lewis had described his conversion in Surprised by Joy when he wrote, “it is more like when a man, after a long sleep, still lying motionless in bed, becomes aware that he is now awake.”
Having met the author of creation and the Bible we begin (albeit very slowly) to see ourselves, each other and the world in the way God wants us to. Joy returns and is possible for every day becomes a further opportunity to experience the presence of God as the relationship grows and the joy increases.
(Article by Peter Brain)