We run our website the way we wished the whole internet worked: we provide high quality original content with no ads. We are funded solely by your direct support. Please consider supporting this project.
The God of the Here and Now
Several years ago an acquaintance told me she and her husband were going to travel to Lakeland, FL, where a “healing revival” had purportedly broken out. When I asked them if they were going because they needed healing, they replied that they just wanted to witness “God doing stuff.”
Even though I have nothing against revivals—provided they actually help people grow in their capacity to receive and manifest God’s love, I do get concerned about the assumption that God is “doing stuff” in one place more than another. I’ve known people who have spent a great deal of time and money traveling the world “chasing God” at various revivals, all the while missing what God was doing—and what God wanted to do—in and through their own lives.
The problem is that we have “over-the-rainbow” syndrome. In The Wizard of Oz, Dorothy thought she could find the life she dreamed of “somewhere over the rainbow.” Her adventures in Oz taught her that, if she looked at things rightly, everything she really wanted she already had at home in Kansas. It’s the same lesson the Scarecrow, Tin Man, and Lion had to learn.
Some think God is more active over there than he is right here. Others think God was more present in the past, or hope he’ll be more present in the future, than he is right now. Related to this, many think that the quality of their life and their relationship with God would have been much better if only certain things hadn’t happened in the past or weren’t happening in the present. Or they imagine the quality of their life and their relationship with God will be greatly improved if only things pan out in the future.
If we can’t discern God’s presence in our day-to-day lives, it’s unlikely that we’ll find him at a revival or some other spiritual event. We may find a lot of excitement, great speakers, superb music, and maybe even some “signs and wonders.” But unless a person learns to find God as much in the ordinary as in the exciting, the exciting will do nothing more than serve as a momentary distraction.
Never suppose God is more “there” than “here,” or more “then” than “now.” For the Father is always working—in all places, at all times, in all people. The steadfast love of God fills the entire earth (Ps 33:15). Your evening at home with your family may not have the fanfare of a great revival, but God is as much at work there as in any revival. And there’s at least as much important kingdom work to engage in there as in any revival.
While there’s no denying that God moves differently in different places and times, the ultimate truth is that God is as present as he ever was or ever will be, right here and right now. And because of this, the fullness of life and intimacy with God you long for is available to you right here and right now, as much as any other place and any other time.
In this light, looking for God in any other place than here or any other time than now amounts to nothing more than a massive distraction. You’re dreaming about what’s over the rainbow, in some mythical land of Oz, and this is the very thing that’s keeping you from experiencing the love and joy that’s all around you in your very own “Kansas.”
—Adapted from Present Perfect, pages 134-147
Photo credit: twm1340 via Visual Hunt / CC BY-SA
Greg Loves Questions. In his best selling book Letters from a Skeptic, he responds to questions from his father, who was then an atheist. Tomorrow Greg will be hosting a AMA (Ask Me Anything) on Reddit. We hope you can join us! Here is an adaptation of one of Greg’s responses to a question from…
Why Is It So Much Easier For Jesus To Perform Miracles When He Said We Would Do Even Greater Things? (podcast)
In this episode Greg discusses the miracles of Jesus, particularly looking at why we struggle to perform them. Episode 27 http://traffic.libsyn.com/askgregboyd/Episode_0027.mp3
Greg continues his thoughts on sickness and spiritual warfare by addressing the question of why God “can’t” intervene in some circumstances of illness.
It is only when we cease from our striving and rest in the unconditional love of Christ that our soul begins to be nourished and restored. It is only then that we can experience a worth that attaches to our being and not simply our doing. It is only as we experience God’s acceptance of us as we are that…
My conviction is that many Christians do not pray as passionately as they could because they don’t see how it could make any significant difference. They pray, but they often do so out of sheer obligation and without the sense of urgency that Scripture consistently attaches to prayer. The problem, I believe, is that many…
Last Saturday night Shelley and I were involved in a rather serious four car crash on a local highway. One person was hospitalized, and I’m being treated for neck pain and an on-going dull headache. But thankfully, no one was critically injured. In any event, the crash inspired several folks to e-mail or tweet questions…