I am currently reading a book called, Distant God by Chris Nye. The book explores the mystery (to us humans) of the omnipresence of God. Why do we often feel like a God who is everywhere at every moment is away from us? Is it because we do not truly understand the presence of God? Must he show forth himself in grand fashion? Must his presence appear in a burning bush or in a loud booming voice from the sky?
Very early on in the book, Mr. Nye makes an attempt to define for us what the presence of God is. I think his explanation strips away from us the notion that the presence or nearness of God must always be accompanied by some grand display. He is always near but if we only look for him in burning bushes, miracles, signs and wonders and booming voices from above, we are likely to question his omnipresence.
Here is the excerpt that has already played such a massive role in transforming my theology:
“At the very start of the book of Genesis, in a garden called Eden, all of the relationships those two human beings had were in harmony. The relationships between the two, God, and creation (including the animals), were “good” according to the Creator. Before Eve appeared, God and Adam were colaborers working together and conversing (2:15–17), delegating work to each other and seeing the world grow. God created man intimately by placing His hands in the ground and blowing air into his lungs. The Genesis story says that He placed Adam in the garden to work it and keep it (v. 15). This God is not distant and far removed in the Genesis story, but rather with Adam in his daily life.
In Adam’s proximity to God he is working, going about the business of ordinary life in a particular geographic place. Adam is near to God—relating with Him and conversing and obeying. The shalom—peace of God—is alongside the mundane atmosphere of a garden and a man. Together, God and man are working out this shalom in Eden. For us to expect to have more than this in our current time may prove to bring us great disappointment. Our nearness to God entails working with Him in the ordinary stuff of life.”
Every now and then I have a season of doubt. Well, this particular season has lasted for about 4 or 5 years. I’ve had very many lows and very few highs and a group of questions remain persistent and seemingly unanswered.
- Am I doing the right thing?
- Am I saying the right thing?
- Am I repping Christ well enough?
- Am I on track to fulfilling purpose?
- Should I change my approach to things?
- Should I withdraw?