Thoughts from daily Bible reading for today – July 23, 2020
In my distress I called upon the Lord; to my God I cried for help. From his temple he heard my voice, and my cry to him reached his ears. Psalm 18:6
One of the earliest Christian prayers affirms and reminds us that God is “everywhere present and filling all things.” I say reminds us because we are prone to forget this foundational truth! So often we act as though God is “out there” in the great beyond, distant and unknowable, and as a result uninterested and uninvolved in the intimate details of our lives or the evils that plague our societies. This deistic faith has worked its way into our collective psyche, often in subtle and unnoticeable ways, yet when left unchecked the results can be disastrous!
Even in the Psalms, such as Psalm 18, we see glimpses of this view of God. When our hearts are heavy and we feel a deep need for the nearness of God, we believe that we must cry at the top of our lungs, send our prayers as high as we possibly can, hoping that in our strength and great effort they will shoot high enough and launch far enough to reach him in his distant, unapproachable glory. Yet what if that ancient prayer is actually true? What if God, the one who is merciful and loves humanity with an all-consuming love, is present in every place, every time, and intimately involved with the cares of the world and the longings and desires of our hearts?
The incarnation of Jesus forever transformed our view of God and how we relate to him. Rather than being the distant and unknowable God, God in Jesus draws near to you and me in our weakness and frailty in order to make us whole. The love of God finds us when we are unable to find him. It finds us when we are unable to find ourselves. Our ability to encounter this love is not based on how loudly we cry to heaven but is first and foundationally built upon God’s nearness and kindness to us.
In light of this truth, you and I face a daily invitation into a life of attentiveness. It is entirely possible to go through life without an awareness of the activity of God in our midst. In times of great uncertainty, political division, and social unrest, this temptation is only amplified. Our attention is demanded by countless forces, some worthy of our time and energy, many not. Yet the great tragedy in this present moment would be to give our time, our resources, and our attention away without first realizing how our lives are sustained and upheld by our Lord, moment by moment, day by day. And so, focus your body, mind, and spirit today on the God who loves you, the one who is “everywhere present and filling all things.”
Father, remind us afresh that you are with us and near to us in every moment of every day, we pray through Christ our Lord. Amen.
Look for ways to be attentive to God’s nearness and work in your life today, especially in small and often unnoticed ways.
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