If You Find God Too Easily…

If I find Him with great ease, perhaps He is not my God.

If I cannot hope to find Him at all, is He my God?

If I find Him wherever I wish, have I found Him?

If He can find me whenever He wishes,

And tells me Who He is and who I am,

And if I then know that He Whom I could not find has found me:

Then I know He is the Lord, my God:

He has touched me with the finger that made me out of nothing.

Thomas Merton

I suffer from that strange weird Christian malady of planning a time of retreat and then expecting that God will show up when I am ready for him…

This has led to many a frustrating time as I have allotted the time, then sat there and waited to hear from him, but its felt like he has had better things to do. After 20 minutes of silence and flicking thru my Bible looking for inspiration I usually find myself drifting off mentally and then just giving up and going to do something else.

I usually end up feeling extremely unspiritual and even a little bit cheesed at the Boss for not showing up when he knew I was going to be there. I mean omniscient, omnipresent and all that… surely you could get there when I am ready… couldn’t you?…

I have just spent the last few days away in Lancelin and part of the goal was to connect with God and hear what he might want to say to me at this time. I took a different approach this time though. I figured seeing as how God doesn’t play the way I would like him to, I will simply do what I do and see if he shows up anywhere over the time.

So I left conscious that I was making time to be with God, but also conscious that my track record has been a tad dodgy in this regard.

So in the time there I read, surfed, 4WDed, slept, prayed and generally did what I would do if I wasn’t going there with any sense of intention.

And yes, there were some moments of sensing God’s voice – some in the surf, some when journalling and some when driving… nothing earth-shattering and Damascus Rd in nature, but still enough to give me some direction and insight.

I still have plenty more questions percolating within at the moment but I guess I will approach them in the same way.

I do think its important to create space for connection with God, whatever shape that takes, but I also think Merton is onto something when he asks ‘if we find him too easily is it really God we have found?’

I’d like to think God works to my diary, but he doesn’t seem to see things quite like I do… I was sitting writing this post when I got distracted and decided to check my email only to find a letter from my mate John Wilmot with the Merton quote in it.

Seemed appropriate.

3 thoughts on “If You Find God Too Easily…

  1. As you know Hamo, we’ve built a boutiqe retreat space in our island home, and the concept of retreat, our intentions and expectations is one that interests me.

    While I invite guests to explore right-brain experiential practises to enhance their sense of connection with the divine, sometimes there are creative blocks which disallow people to enter the experience fully. When that happens I ask people to consider that if the outcome was not what they were hoping for, to let it flap in the wind for a bit. In time they usually find the experience has resourced them for future connections. I have found this quote helpful:

    We often make the mistake of thinking that the aim of our personal spiritual practices is to produce an encounter with God. The purpose of prayer [retreat, or other practices] is not neccesarily to produce experiences then and there, but to open us to the encounters that will occur when and where God chooses. A disciplined spiritual life heightens our awareness to the possibility of these revelations occurring in the midst of the ordinary, but it does not create them. “Landscapes of the Soul: A Spirituality of Place.” By Robert Hamma

  2. I think a lot of it has to do with how we view that time – are we summoning God to meet us or have we heard Him say “come, spend some time with me”.

    It can be a little too easy to hook into the spiritual slot machine, where we feed it a bit of prayer, maybe some fasting, pull the lever see where the tumblers fall. If we’re lucky then we might win an answer, and if not then we go and find a way to cope with it ourselves.

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