God is close

IMG_0380God is closer than we think.

It’s one of the things that fascinates me about the world, about science.

I took a photo this morning of a little friend of mine, a blue tongue lizard.  I’ve actually only seen him twice. (He could be a she… What would I know?) but I’ve known he’s around, and been looking out for him.

Nature often makes me wonder. As in, awe.

Often I find it easiest to pray if I’m outside.  Even better if I’m looking at the stars. There is something truly gorgeous about them, and the moon too. I love when sometimes you can stare at the moon and it actually looks like a ball rather than a disc… just, hanging there.  It’s incredible. And often I talk to God like he is away up there.  Not in the sense that he can’t hear me, (well, sometimes), but there is definitely a sense of otherness, or bigness, or grandeur. And I find it easiest to picture him being up in the sky.

And well, I believe that’s actually true. He is up there. And big, and all those things that inspire a sense of wonder.

I’ve been reading a book lately by Philip Yancey, Disappointment with God. I like it because it grapples with questions that I think Christians are often discouraged from asking, or can feel uncomfortable with.

Like: if God is real, why won’t he talk to me? Why is he so distant? Why hasn’t he been there when I’ve needed him?

It’s worth reading – I’m not finished yet.  Meanwhile…

Bible says God is big. It also says he is close. And actively involved in keeping things running. So everything about my little friend the lizard is being created by God: from the physics that makes his scales shimmer, to him continuing to breathe in and out, to his desire to lie in the sun or hide in the shade. And it’s like art. It just hangs together in a way that makes it beautiful.

Somehow that makes me take a deep breath.

Sometimes… Often enough… I wish that God would just come and sit with me while I ask him a few direct questions, and then give me some direct answers. I’m disappointed that he doesn’t. But when I’m in a trusting mood, I have this feeling that if he told me certain things I’d probably act differently because of it… Like maybe not do what I really need to do.

It doesn’t always feel like God is close by.  In fact, it can feel like he is very distant, or not real at all.  I don’t think faith is for the faint-hearted.  It takes courage to trust when so much might rest on his existence and his involvement.

I fully believe that God wants us to be active in the world, rather than sit back and let him do all the work.  We are meant to stretch, to grow muscles, to use our abilities, to act.  But what if there is nothing you can do and the outcome still matters?  What if the only things you could do would be wrong?  Where is God when issues of justice are concerned and your hands are tied?

Plenty of people in the Bible had this same issue.  Whether it was injustice they were suffering, or concern for the welfare of others… why didn’t God act?

A verse that’s come to mind a number of times for me in recent months has been this one:

A bruised reed he will not break;

and a smouldering wick he will not snuff out.

I haven’t been aware of the following sentences, but they fit so well:

In faithfulness he will bring forth justice;

he will not falter or be discouraged

till he establishes justice on the earth.

I see God’s deep involvement in creation, and his presence, in the wonders of the natural world: the incredible way it all hangs together, even despite our attacks on it and the damage we have done.

But I see it more in his compassion.  It is not possible to be compassionate and uninvolved.  You can’t be gentle without knowing the object of your gentleness.

It’s like my daughter’s new budgie:  She’s wary of picking him up because she worries that her strength will hurt him.  She might misjudge, and cause hurt.  (To be honest, I had the same fear in holding her when she was also tiny and fragile.)

God knows you in a way that no one else ever will.  And he gets you.  If life is complicated – hang on to that.  He does get it.


God is close — 3 Comments

  1. Hi Steve. Thanks for your blog…I like it and it touches the big, beautiful, difficult and challenging questions. In the past week I came across a Big Ideas program on ABC TV with John Lennox, mathematician and scientist…it’s worth picking it up as an audio. Not only does he tackle the big science/faith questions but also the ‘life’ questions that come out of that. It is such a journey, isn’t it…faith…doubt…why God? I find the perspective John Lennox and other Christian scientists who are on the cutting edge bring such a glimpse of God’s greatness. It’s exciting! And hopeful! Anne

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