Give Thanks- Divinity

I am grateful for divinity.

Many of the things I have already expressed gratitude for in this series can be considered a moment of God showing His hand in my life. A moving piece of music or a sincere and thoughtful tale. A pattern of mathematics. A mentor’s help and a child’s kindness. The variety of the world. The opportunities of time. The desires within us to make new and good things. The healing of the heart. I sense His divinity in all these aspects of life.

I believe that if each of us paused to consider the things we are most grateful for, we would recognize that they are the moments when we glimpse another side of our Maker. Our fondest memories are based around Him in one way or another.

It is true that we live in a fallen world, and it obscures our view of God, but He condescends to our presence in every way that He still can. When He does, these become the defining moments of our lives. They awaken in us the desire to be better. They make us to be our best selves.

#givethanks

Divided from God- Acts 17:27-28, 2 Kings 6:16-17

That they should seek the Lord, if haply they might feel after him, and find him, though he be not far from every one of us:
For in him we live, and move, and have our being; as certain also of your own poets have said, For we are also his offspring.

And he answered, Fear not: for they that be with us are more than they that be with them.
And Elisha prayed, and said, Lord, I pray thee, open his eyes, that he may see. And the Lord opened the eyes of the young man; and he saw: and, behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire round about Elisha.

COMMENTARY

The Lord opened the eyes of the young man; and the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire
There is no question that at times we feel very far from God. And it is important for us to acknowledge that this is a very real frustration and to admit that it weighs us down.
But though every emotion we feel is real, the facts that we base them upon are not necessarily so. So yes, we feel God’s absence, but that is not proof that He is, in fact, absent. It might be that we are just as the servant of Elisha, not yet having had our eyes opened so that we can see the presence of God all around.

Lord, I pray thee, open his eyes, that he may see
He be not far from every one of us
For in him we live, and move, and have our being

The more I look for God, the more I find Him. Once I did not see Him anywhere, but now I know that He is everywhere. I think part of what makes recognizing Him so difficult is that very same prevalence. Does a fish even know that it swims in water, or is it so ubiquitous that it does not discern it?
God’s presence in our life does not change, only our capacity to perceive it. Once the change is made inside of us, then we see that He is in “all life, and breath, and all things” (Acts 17:25). Or as Martin Luther put it “God writes the Gospel not in the Bible alone, but also on trees, and in the flowers and clouds and stars.”

*What’s this? Didn’t Abe already finish the “Divided from God” study? I could swear he posted the Summary for it already.
Yep, I messed up and posted the Summary for everything yesterday, when I should have posted this other entry instead. So now you get this one today, and on Monday we’ll start with the next study topic 🙂

Peace in the Storm- Job 23:1-3, 5, 8-9; 42:1, 5

Then Job answered and said,
Even to day is my complaint bitter: my stroke is heavier than my groaning.
Oh that I knew where I might find him! that I might come even to his seat!
I would know the words which he would answer me, and understand what he would say unto me.
Behold, I go forward, but he is not there; and backward, but I cannot perceive him:
On the left hand, where he doth work, but I cannot behold him: he hideth himself on the right hand, that I cannot see him:

Then Job answered the Lord, and said,
I have heard of thee by the hearing of the ear: but now mine eye seeth thee.

COMMENTARY

Behold, I go forward, but he is not there; and backward, but I cannot perceive him
We have considered the fact that sometimes God’s support of us is invisible, and we feel that we are facing the storms of life alone. Job had such a moment. All that he loved was taken from him, and he was not given the reason why. In the quoted passage above he expresses his intense desire to find God, just so that he can understand what’s going on. But for a long while God does not answer his pleas. He is nowhere to be found. Thus to all Job’s worldly pain, there is now added the spiritual anguish of perceived abandonment.
Then comes the temptation. Job’s friends not only reject and condemn him, they urge him to curse God and die. Though their words sting him, he holds strong. And this, I know, is the reason why God sometimes appears to be absent in our lives. Sometimes we have to know that we will do the right thing, simply because it is the right thing. What we choose when we don’t feel God peering over our shoulder reveals to us our truest nature.

I have heard of thee by the hearing of the ear: but now mine eye seeth thee
In the end, Job emerged from his trial with a deeper, more intimate perception of God than ever before. He describes it as the difference between only hearing something, and now actually seeing it. By experiencing God’s withdrawal, he was able to then have a greater closeness to Him.
When God withdraws His presence, it creates a vacuum where we are able to see our own light, and recognize that it is the same as His. Or in other words, sometimes God steps back from around us so that we can discover Him within us.