Everywhere

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the phrase finding God.  I know each of us have heard that terminology and have perhaps used it ourselves.  It may sound something like this: “My friend was at the bottom of the barrel until they found God,” or “I’ve been seeking for a lifetime but just haven’t found God yet.” There are a number of variations, but they all seem to paint the picture that somehow God is elusive, and we are in a monumental game of hide-and-seek until He is found, or perhaps we have to invest in some epic pilgrimage to journey to where He is at.  The truth is that as you talk with people, it is not uncommon for them to all be on some level in a process of finding God.  I know because I used to be there myself, and I’ve since counseled dozens of people who are in this same place spiritually.  I fully admit it can be a process, and one of my earliest messages “Pushed into the Deep End” takes a peek into my own personal journey to faith.  However, the finding is much simpler than we often make it out to be because of one very important characteristic God possesses – He is everywhere.

As I was nearing the end of my run the other day, I noticed some writing on the sidewalk up ahead.  As I got closer, I realized someone had taken chalk and drawn the “anarchy” symbol and written the phrase “We are everywhere” directly below it.  Anarchy is typically used to describe a group or organization that rejects leadership and wants people to be self-governed; especially when there is social unrest.  Anarchists will frequently use chaos and disorder to disrupt any entity they are standing up against.

As I continued past the writing, I couldn’t help but keep thinking about it.  Actually, I was amused by it for a few reasons.  First, I felt it was a pretty bold statement to say that they were everywhere.  I don’t know a single anarchist and have never even heard of one in Port Angeles.  I understand that this person was trying to portray that their group is large in numbers yet hidden amongst the masses.  However, my mind is often very literal, so I figured if they truly were everywhere, there would be a high likelihood that the next person I bumped into would be an anarchist.  That wasn’t the case, and hasn’t been with every person after that, so I think they overreached a bit.  I was also amused because a short distance after, in the same blue chalk, I saw they had written another message stating that one of our local judges was a “thug.”  Honestly, this one actually made me laugh out loud as I pictured our disgruntled anarchist taking out their aggression with sidewalk chalk on the way home from court. 

As I thought about the concept of everywhere, I realized we have all used that term too liberally when speaking of things other than God.  I know that it’s simply an expression to describe when something is in multiple locations, but we can actually cause harm in the way of fear if we are not careful.  Think about when someone finds lice is a child’s hair and yells out, “They are everywhere!”  Even though they are not literally everywhere, everyone around starts itching because our mind reacts as if they are.  Like our sidewalk artist, groups that are fueled by fear will portray a false sense of domain by making statements that their territory is greater than it actually is.

We must become wise to these statement that make people and their influence seem bigger than they truly are because it taints the truth that God is the only one with an infinite reach.  In order to help those who are seeking to find God, it’s important we have a clear perspective on who is truly everywhere and who is not. People become paralyzed with fear to the point that they don’t see God active in the world at all because they believe terrorists are everywhere.  They are not!  In reality, they are a very small group of people that have been coerced and influenced by evil.  Only God is everywhere!  Some think our town is doomed and failing because drugs are everywhere.  Although tragic and devastating to many lives, they do not have the power to take down an entire town because they are not everywhere.  Only God is!  Others also say that evil is everywhere, but it is not.  Satan, along with his demons, is a created being that can only be one place at a time – a limitation that does not belong to God!  Listen to King David express the vastness of God:

“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.  If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast.  If I say, ‘Surely the darkness will hide me and the light become night around me,’ even the darkness will not be dark to you; the night will shine like the day, for darkness is as light to you.” Psalm 139:7-12

It’s important to understand that David is making a declaration that God is literally everywhere at once and there is no place we can go that He is not right there with us.  This goes for every single person on the planet, and it’s a mind boggling yet comforting ability.  David is not saying that God is everything.  Although beautiful and awe-inspiring, we must not look at the created things around us and mistakenly claim that somehow they are God Himself. It’s twisting truth to say that because God can be everywhere at once, He can be found in everything.

He is not that stunning piece of art in the museum; He is the one that birthed creativity itself and fashioned the artist himself.  Art is a reflection of God.  He is not the incredible variety of creatures we find in nature along with the marvelous landscape they live in; He’s the One that spoke it all into existence.  The natural world is a reflection of God.  God is not things that are evil because it contradicts His nature.  God is light, and evil is the face of things that have turned from God.  Our five senses were given to us to perceive His presence in the good things we see, touch, smell, hear, and taste.  God spoke through the prophet Jeremiah when he said,

“You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.” Jeremiah 29:13

I mentioned earlier that we are not in a giant game of hide-and-seek with God, yet He asks us to seek Him in order to find Him.  Why is this?  God has done the most loving things imaginable to “hide” in plain sight – He’s made His presence fill the whole earth and put His fingerprints on the beauty we can sense in the natural world, yet the last step towards finding Him is left up to us.  Unless we choose to love Him back and acknowledge He is real, we will not have a true relationship with Him.  I picture a baby entering the world for the first time; air is all around them, yet they must take their first breath using the lungs that have developed over the past nine months.

Just like a baby is born to take in oxygen, we are all created for relationship with God.  We are hard-wired for it with our senses intact to interact with Him.  However, as we grow, our decision to embrace Him can be challenged and many abandon the seeking process right before the most crucial part – calling Him by name.  I can’t emphasize enough how important this part is.  I don’t have a marriage with an abstract idea of a wife; I have an intimate relationship with Kayla.  I have chosen her and call her by name.  People make this mistake with God.  They perceive Him all around because the good in our world is a reflection of Him, yet find it difficult to accept it is the result of His intentional creation process.  You will often hear the term “divine power” or “higher power” used by people because it enables them to embrace any version of a god that they want without committing to the omnipresent God of the Bible.  Again, think of God like oxygen.  If you are in trouble and gasping for breath, you have to be able to ask for what you need by name.  Being vague leaves too much room for interpretation, and you may get the wrong stuff instead of the oxygen you need to survive.

A crucial step in this relationship is what we do with Jesus; how can a man that walked the earth as we do also be God and be everywhere?  Because many of the concepts that I’ve discussed so far are extremely difficult for us to understand, God made one more way for us to grab hold of Him as we seek – He took on our form in order for us to experience relationship with Him as we would a friend.  Although it may have taken place before our lifetime, He left an extremely detailed account in His Word for us to share in.  If God is like oxygen in our time of need, Jesus is the mask hooked up to the tank – he is the delivery method.  When someone exclaims that they’ve found God and their life has changed forever, what they are saying is that they are no longer being vague about what they need.  They called out for oxygen by name and put the mask on that was offered to them. 

This is exactly what Christ was saying when he declared, “I am the way and the truth and the life.  No one comes to the Father except through me.” John 14:6

I have no doubt in my mind that many people throughout the world who would not consider themselves Christian, have pieces of an accurate understanding of God.  After all, He is everywhere, and if you are seeking at all, you’ll find plenty of clues to His existence.  Because of this, it’s inherent that every road a person travels will have some evidence of God, but it’s imperative that we understand that they don’t all lead to Him – just one does and it’s the one that ends with truly finding Him; it’s the one marked by His Son’s blood.  Each pursuit aside from this is destined to remain a pursuit; a perpetual journey in which you just can’t seem to get a full breath. 

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