Encountering God

Margaret Feinberg

God extends endless invitations to encounter him, yet too often we sleep straight through.

Unconscious of the life God wants for us, we slumber in the presence of the sacred and snore in the company of the divine. We remain asleep while God roosts in our midst.

Inactive and inert, we become spiritual sleepyheads who clamor for the snooze button rather than climb out of bed. In our dormant states, we miss the opportunities to experience his many gifts and to know the Giver more fully.

The wonder of God is that moment of spiritual awakening that makes us curious to know God more. Alaska doesn’t have a monopoly on such moments, and neither does the night sky.

They are all around us – not just in the sanctuary and sacraments. God stoops beside our beds as we offer our evening prayers; he nestles on the couch as we open our homes to strangers, neighbors, and friends. He waits in our laughter and tears, our thank you's and I love you's.

What are the wonders of God in your own life that you fail to marvel or even sleep straight through? How often do you pass by God’s presence and handiwork unaware?

Despite the breathtaking moments of God that I’ve experienced, all too often I find myself like so many of the other passengers on the ferry, deep in sleep, missing the moment.

I succumb to exhaustion rather than remain alert to the wondrous displays that reveal more of God. In those moments, the burning bushes in my life are reduced to smoldering distractions, and the still, small voice becomes something I absentmindedly shush.

I recently began noticing this in my life in increasing measure. I no longer waited on God with hopeful expectation. Icy religion replaced the delightful warmth of being a child of God.

Though I expressed gratitude at the appropriate moments, in the depths of my spirit, I wasn’t appreciative. Words of praise may have lingered on my lips during worship, but when the song ended, so did any trace of enthusiasm.

The sense of holy awe was replaced by unholy indifference. Hope diminished to a manageable emotion. Love became a fleeting expression in short supply. Yet God met me there.

God’s infinite nature knows neither beginning nor end; our Creator is like a vast ocean, fathomless and without bounds, an ever-rising tide without abatement, yet in my spiritual journey in the months after our move, I stood ankle deep, baptized only in the shallows of his presence.

I sensed the Spirit beckoning me to plunge into the cool, shadowy depths marked by indescribable beauty, those unforgettable moments of life that draw us closer to God.

Allured by the Spirit, I lunged forward. And I prayed for wonder. Sometimes the simplest petitions prove to be the most critical. If I had known what I was asking or how God would answer, I don’t know if I would have had the courage to make the request.

I have a hunch that I’m not the only one who has misplaced the marvel of a life lived with God. Faith invites us into an enchanting journey – one marked by mysteries of divine beauty, holy courage, irrepressible hope, unending love. But in my life, any sense of the splendor of God had faded.

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