I descend in the elevator. Thumbs hurriedly typing off a text message to a friend, I recognize that, once at the bottom level, in the “dungeon,” I will not have service and any such text message will be useless. It will have to wait to be sent unless…I type faster and manage to get it off.
Those irritating moments inevitably happen when our cellular devices, our “connections to the world,” the devices that make us one of the most socially capable yet relationally deficient generations, lose service. It’s why companies advertise that they have “more bars in more places,” that they have the best coverage in the area. It’s why we’re willing to pay through the nose for that company rather than settle for the cheaper one that we’re a little “iffy” on.
Sure. It sounds familiar.
Perhaps in more way than one.
When it comes to God, I fear many of us, including myself, treat Him as we treat a wireless signal. It seems inevitable to us that when we’re in certain locations, He is absent – it’s irritating, certainly, perhaps (for the more dramatic of us) even cause for despair, but it’s inevitable. And if this is not enough to make us turn away completely; if this perceived lack of relational consistency does not drive us to seek the fulfillment of our deep relational need elsewhere, the damage goes further. Just as I text rapidly to beat the fading service, so we work harder to maintain our sense of God’s presence. And when we realize that we have no idea how to maintain the signal ourselves we do what we’ve been told to do – we read our Bibles more, we pray as much as we can, we participate at Church, we do. Our activities become a means of trying to maintain a signal we often feel is slipping through our grasp.
And yet the reality is starkly different. Christ’s closing words to his disciples guarantees his presence to his followers (Matthew 28:20). The Holy Spirit within us is a promise of the continual presence of God. This is the fullness of Christianity – God with us. Period. Not fluctuating based on how much we do or even requiring us to do anything. The grace of God offers us five bars, all the time.
Perhaps, it is time we see God not as a wireless signal, not something that works only when we are “picking it up” but as the living Being that He is, walking side by side with us through our lives, always there, always available, always wanting us to simply be with Him. It is in this realization that we begin to discover the grace of His presence.
Grace and peace,