I’ve seen references to ongoing disputes about whether God is within or somewhere outside of us. It’s natural for us humans to try to understand the important things in our lives. When the subject is God however, for any of us to think we have the definitive answer is ludicrous. There’s no reason to argue, for each of us hold a truth that works for us. The problem comes when we fail to realize that we hold A truth, not THE truth. Recognizing our limitations allows us to hear and learn from other’s truths.
Having said that my truth is of limited value to others, I will share my observation that God is EVERYWHERE. Is God within me? In heaven somewhere outside me? Present in the everyday world? My answer is yes to all of these. What kind of God would it be who can only be here or there; only do this or that?
I like to pull questions down to their roots. What is the nature of God? Many believe that God cannot be all knowing; aware not only of each of the billions of people on earth, but of each bird. That issue was spoken to quite clearly in the Bible. Luke 12: …6 “Are not five sparrows sold for two cents? Yet not one of them is forgotten before God. 7 “Indeed, the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Do not fear; you are more valuable than many sparrows.
A Friend I know often asks, “Where is God in that?” It’s a question that applies to everything we see, and situations from triumph to tragedy. I spent some time years ago gazing at a rock. My heart was open to God and seeking understanding. I suddenly was inside the rock, glimpsing its history back to the cosmos.
If you would know the universe
travel through a stone.
Feel its borders from within,
taste its minerals.
recalling where each has been.
Then you will find
outside the bounds,
And you will know
we are one
and have been
and shall be one again
after we account
for where we’ve been.
I saw that God was not only present within the rock – having made it – but present within every atom of the rock, and each part of each atom. God is everywhere. God did not merely create each part of the universe, but remains with each part.
What does this mean for us humans? We are immersed in God’s love. As water is to a fish, God’s grace is to us. We are not only surrounded and supported, but permeated. In the same way that water provides the necessities of life for a fish, down to being the major component of each individual cell, so God is present to us. And much like a fish, we are oblivious to the essential nature of our lives.
So much of what goes wrong with the world is predicated on fear. Will that person (those people) hurt me? Will I have enough? Will I be able to get what I want? Will I be accepted, successful, loved……….. The list of our fears is endless.
Fear then leads people to do terrible things, convinced that they must. It also keeps us from our better selves, interfering with offering others compassion and love. Thus our fear of loss prohibits us from engaging in behaviors that produce lasting meaning and joy. We are in our own way and may think that our only option is to act in ways that compound alienation and hurt.
Yet there is this other reality, immediately to hand. God is present to us, everywhere and always. Which means that God’s love and comfort are also here with us.
It is one of life’s great paradoxes that if I am fearful and put up protective barriers, I have also isolated myself and called attention to my fear. As a consequence I may contribute to the very thing I fear. If I am open and vulnerable , I can disarm the fear in another, allowing the best in both of us to be revealed and joined.
From the Journal of George Fox: Then you will come to walk cheerfully over the world, answering that of God in every one; whereby in them ye may be a blessing, and make the witness of God in them to bless you: then to the Lord God you shall be a sweet savour, and a blessing.
How can we come to walk cheerfully over the world? One way is to open our eyes, hearts and souls by continually asking, “Where is God in that?” In the headache I have, a car accident, a beautiful flower, a dead flower, a baby’s smile, a lingering death. Where is God in that?
For God is everywhere. Always with us, always loving us. This wonderful world can be hard and harsh and unfair. We can face it with fear and anger, or hope and love. In either case, our wonderful world will still sometimes be hard and harsh and unfair. But we need not feel that we are alone and afraid. God is with us and in us. We are engulfed in love.