The Challenge of Finding God Again

Relaxing on a fishin trip along the Columbia RiverYes, miracles do happen.  I’ve heard stories, but I wasn’t sure it could really happen here.  After long gray seasons, you wonder if it’s just a fabled legend.  I’m actually not sure if I should be writing this, because some just don’t believe.  Are you ready for this?

…The sun is out…in Oregon!

People all of a sudden seem to be friendly and smiling, wearing shorts and shades, and being outside.  The Oregonians can finally get out of their coffeeshops and breweries and bookstores and go do stuff.  It’s like Portland went from 90s grunge to Brady Bunch singing, “Sunshine Day.”  There’s all kinds of songs about it like the Beatle’s “Here Comes the Sun.” and then lots of 60s California songs that bring up images of surfing, hippies with their guitars on retro film, and blondes.  I myself prefer the Spanish sounds of Gypsy Kings while driving through Northwest forests.

There’s also a worship song that goes, “And like the sun after all of the rain’s gone.  The morning without any cloud comes with a picture of Your love.”  The sun to me represents breakthrough moments.  In the end we won’t need any sun, because God Himself will be there to shine on us.  But in the meantime we get a picture.  Psalm 19:4-6 says that the sun is like a bridegroom coming from one end of the sky to the other and nothing can escape it’s heat.  Like when Jesus the Bridegroom flies through the sky coming to make war in the rescue of His bride.

The treetop in Silver FallsMe personally I get distracted.  I have so much going on and good things are happening for me, but I gotta be careful to not forget about the presence of God.  That presence I sought so much years back when I was down or lonely.  I’m sure it’s that way for a lot of people.  Church attendance goes down and people are more chill.  Our church has an attitude that you can’t really fight it, so find ways to go with it.  Although we want people to come Sunday morning and then enjoy the barbecue.

I’m tempted to make a typical hackers guide blog, a point by point method for getting focused on prayer.  But that doesn’t seem to fit so much in this case.  Prayer isn’t so much a skill, but it’s a friendship.  Just like finding quality time to spend with partner, friends or family.  You don’t time it or follow a ten step method.  You just enjoy the other person.

Just remember Him, enjoy His presence amidst the water-rafting and hiking and hanging out with friends.  You’ll really have to make a point of it.  Plan for it during the day.  Get away from the noise.  I’m not as much of an advocate for loner praying these days.  Other than the Essenes and Jesus, in the New Testament it seems prayer was usually with other people in community.  But alone time does have it’s place.  Sometimes you need to get away.  Find a park or chapel or whatever.

Brother Lawrence was a monk back in the 17th century.  He wrote about how we can keep the presence of God throughout the day and when we distracted, we just need to find ways to come back to it.  The simple thoughts, gestures, and small things and desires count.  Brennan Manning compares us and God to a child being held by a loving parent.  They’ll look this way and that at the surroundings, but the mom or dad just enjoys holding the child.

Sometimes when I come to God, I’ll be sorry I haven’t sought Him or sorry this or that, and I feel like He just wants me to shut up, relax and enjoy Him.  Remember perfectionist Christianity just doesn’t work.  We become Christians not because we’re so good, but because we’re not so good.  But remember the heart is good, regardless of how stupid we act like on the outside.

And so enjoy.  Call your friends and fire up the barbie.  Dig out the bicycle.  Take a drive through the forest.  Get your nose out of a blog and go do stuff.  Just remember what it’s all about.  Have fun guys.

Category: Spiritual Thoughts, Worship |

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