Do you know what happens when we talk about God? Often we are reminded of good things and recollect times he met us. Sometimes we confess our anger and frustration. But something else happens, too.
We tend to believe that we can have conversations outside his atmosphere. We believe that he is not a part of every interaction, every thought.
In a wonderful 3-part series called “End of Religion,” (you can buy his book of the same name here) Bruxy Cavey talks about the first sin… Eve in the garden with the serpent, discussing what God really said as though God was not present. Bruxy puts forth the idea that this is the trap laid by Satan.
That the first deception was the subtle idea that this daughter’s creator, her closest companion and the one with the deepest, most intimate understanding of her heart was not as ever-near as she had probably come to believe.
We know that God walked with them in the garden of Eden, but we also know that God is… God. He’s all around. Surely Eve came to this realization as well as God spoke with her and revealed insights into her heart and mind that she wouldn’t have known to speak. How lovely must it have been to walk with the one who designed her, who formed her personality and shaped her form. As she got to know him, she must have felt so safe in the knowledge of his love and his knowing of her.
And then, Bruxy points out, when she is asked by the serpent if God really said she couldn’t have any fruit maybe she laughs at the absurdity: oh no, God wouldn’t say that! He wants us to enjoy this place! And he did. But now she is talking about him as though she is outside his sphere. I don’t know how things were done in the garden, but I imagine if she wanted to she could have said, “God, is that what you said?” and she would have been given an answer. Maybe God would have crushed the serpent right there.
But we do the exact.same.thing. today. How many conversations have I had with people about God without asking right then and there, “God, what about you?” Or how often have I fretted over something – does God want this or that? is this going to work out or not? how am I supposed to respond? what is the most right thing? – when God is right here. Like, right now, God is here.
And it is great to seek counsel from other people who love The Lord. It’s great to read about God to better understand his character. But maybe it should look a little more like reading a note from the person sitting right next to you or an autobiography about your best friend. “Woah, I didn’t know that – is that really what happened?? Do you want a hug?” “Oh my gosh, I had no idea… You’re even more amazing than I already knew!”
Which sounds weird, yeah. But if God really is with us always, if we have the Spirit of God in us, around us, then what are we doing trying to figure this stuff out on our own?
“I’m right here, guys. Anytime you want to check in, I’ll be hanging out by the sandwiches.”
Sometimes I feel like God is the guest of honor at a party where everybody ignores him.
And sometimes praying can make it even more sterile – once we say Amen we are tempted to once again forget that he is there. Like a fog… You know how you can see dense fog like a wall, but once you’re in it you can’t really tell that you are surrounded by water? I think it’s like that. Unless we are intentional about it, we can so easily forget that God is here, we’re covered in His presence, every atom surrounded by Him.
So maybe that was the first real deception… And we’ve believed it ever since. God spends all of history trying to convince us that he’s right here and we’re never outside his love or the ability to be close with him. And we spend all of history building towers to get to a God who sits on the ground and waits for us to come and listen.