The Secret on our Doorstep

I have often written about my attraction to nature, particularly to climbing mountains. I have discussed at length how I feel acutely aware of God's presence with me when I am sitting on top of a peak, looking out over the vast beauties of God's creation.

The problem is that in recent months, I have been swamped. Overwhelmed with meetings, assignments, seminars, and the urgent needs of every oom and tannie in the church, I have had no time to retreat into the wilderness to connect with God in a deeply intimate manner.

Reading Into the Silent Land by Martin Laird has reminded me of a deep truth that many of us (myself included) often forget. We do not need to venture off into the wilderness to connect deeply with God. While these sacred moments in nature help us to become more acutely aware of God's presence with us, God is within each of us and we can connect with God even in the middle of our busy lives.

"We can never get closer to God because God is already within us." - James Blanchard Cisneros

I think the reason that many of us enjoy being with God on the mountains and in nature is that it is easier to empty our minds. We observe flowing streams, listen to chirping birds, smell sweetly-scented flowers, feel the gentle breeze on our skin and it is easy to disconnect from our many distractions and worries. 

But the truth is that we do not go to the mountain to find God there; we go to the mountain to find God within ourselves. 

"Why do we rush about... looking for God who is here at home with us, if all we want is to be with him?" - St. Augustine

Often, when people claim to feel distant from God, they are actually feeling separated from their innermost self, where Godself resides. The secret therefore, rather than running around trying to find God in the mountains, or the next self-help book, or in your favourite celebrity preacher's next sermon, is to learn to connect to God within your deepest being.

The practice of contemplative prayer has helped me to intentionally spend time in silence, becoming still and connecting with my innermost being - connecting with God.

While I still love the intentional time connecting with God in nature, it has been a refreshing experience re-learning to connect with myself and with God in sacred, silent moments of the day, right in the middle of a busy schedule. I pray that you would find moments and ways to connect with the Divine presence within you.

"Where can I go from your Spirit?  Where can I flee from your presence? If I go up to the heavens, you are there; If I make my bed in the depths, you are there... For you created my inmost being." - Psalm 138:7-8, 13

Image source: Katerina Jerabkova 


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