Wouldn’t it be cool to live in a loft apartment downtown and stroll to the swanky, local coffeehouse every morning? We thought so and dreamed about it while house hunting for 2.7 seconds. Then we quickly realized lugging Costco purchases for a family of five up and down elevators from parking garages just wasn’t in our skill set, so we live in the suburbs; more specifically the suburban prairie. We’re just beyond corporate and retail America where a few strides away deer and the antelope could actually play (Kansas state song…were there really antelope in Kansas at some point?). One perk of our beige little house on the prairie is the view of both the rising and setting sun. Twice each day I witness how awesome and powerful our source of light is.
It’s here, under the big Kansas sky, where I’m learning about the ever-present nature of God. Psalm 46:1 talks about God as a very present help in times of trouble. Other translations say ever-present. Throughout the entire Bible we see God reveal his presence in very specific moments. With Adam and Eve in the garden, with Moses at the burning bush, to Gideon when he was in a seriously desperate situation, to Elijah when he was running for his life, to Isaiah when God was calling him to speak to speak on God’s behalf, to Stephen as he was dying, to Paul in prison before he went to Caesar’s court…just for starters.
For years I believed an untruth. I believed in times of true desperation God swoops down out of the heavens like the superhero we need and does something miraculous only to return to his castle in the sky when order resumed. My hope was in what I thought God should do because I believed he could. You can’t fault that type of childlike faith, right?
Right…except that it was inaccurate. Childlike faith is beautiful and healthy, but immature faith has a maturing process. God has done and does big rescue missions, so it’s okay to expect that of Him. We make superhero gods to save the day forgetting eternity is still at stake. Faith that blooms childlike hopes can also have deep roots of mature beliefs based on the timeless, unchanging character of God.
Here’s what a mature faith knows…God is ever-present. In times where we see Him show up big times are simply times where He’s chosen to reveal Himself for very specific purposes. He was always there, always here, and sometimes, in severe grace, He allows us to witness His presence. What else does mature faith know? God’s presence isn’t reserved for the perfect or super spiritual rulers and leaders. When you’re following Jesus, you are the royal priesthood. Immanuel isn’t God with “them”. Immanuel is God with Us. We don’t see God showing Himself to people when they were at their shiniest moments, we see Him over and over show up when people were at their weakest points.
Here’s the kicker. God revealed himself to those people in desperate times, but they were asking, seeking, and knocking on God’s door long before He revealed himself. Those people were already walking across their faith bridges with God before He broke the supernatural curtain and overwhelmingly affirmed their hopes.
Do you like a good challenge like I do? In fact (often foolishly) I find them hard to ignore and in Matthew 7:7-8 Jesus issues a challenge. He threw down the gauntlet and said, “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened.”
A few years ago I was fed up with mundane faith. I was questioning what it was actually worth in this messed up world or if it was worth it at all. In desperation I decided to take Jesus up on His offer and ask, seek, and knock in small and big ways. This (already long) blog post would be a lengthy book if I tried to explain how He’s answering, but He continues to answer still in big and small ways.
God isn’t present only in the rising and setting of life; here today and gone tomorrow. He’s not just a starry hope in a dark night fading with the dawn of a new day. He is all that and more. Those things simply serve as reminders of a portion of God’s character. He’s ever-present, ever-knowing, and ever-ready to both be the Spirit working within us and the Rescuer who saves. God doesn’t require us to have an Enoch size faith. God asks us to act on the faith He’s given us today.
“Earth’s crammed with Heaven, and every common bush afire with God; but only he who sees takes off his shoes.” –Elizabeth Browning