Where is God?
A world being shaken.
The recent shaking in the world of finance has been both global and personal in terms of impact. Nations, businesses and individuals have all been affected.
In terms of a 'changed world' the earthquake within the banking world and international economics has been of similar magnitude to the destruction of the Twin Towers on 9/11. The shock waves are certainly not over - and many feel that the 'biggie' has still to come.
In amongst all of this many ask the question:
"Where is God?"
Following the attacks in September, 2001 which brought down the Twin Towers, there was a surge in church attendance in America. One report stated: "church attendance spiked for several weeks, rising to about half of the adult public attending religious services during a typical week." However a few months later, things settled back to normal; and citizens returned to their previous Sunday morning activities. At first blush, it could easily have been assumed that once the fear died down the 'search for God' diminished also.
But this was not the reason for the fall away. According to one highly-regarded minister of a large church in New York, those who went to the churches were earnestly looking for God: but they didn't find Him there. And accordingly they left again.
So if God was not in (many of) the churches, where was He?
The answer is that God is no longer tied to buildings; and the extent to which His prescence is in a building is governed by whether or not the people who might be gathered there are disciples of Jesus Christ.
When Jesus ascended to heaven following his resurrection, the left behind God's prescence in the form of the third person of the Godhead - the Holy Spirit (John 14:25-26). And it is the Spirit of God that carries His prescence wherever God's people are.
This can be confusing to the detached observer as it means that the traditional icons of religion - buildings, clergy, church services and routines, and pious living - offer no guarantee of finding God amongst it all.
So if I can't be sure of finding God in a church, where should I look?
One of the first steps to finding God is about our 'attitude' rather than our 'intellect'. God said is his word to the children of Israel: "You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart." (Jer. 29:13). The business of seeking after God has more to do with heart than mind. Many people look to proving the existance of God before they will believe and trust in Him. But finding God is a step of faith. Not a mindless step of faith, but a step of faith nevertheless.
Someone once asked if God appeared in our world would we believe in Him? It's an interesting question. The fact is, He has - in the form of Jesus Christ who said that he was God in human form. (John 14:9). Have a look at the the further steps, remembering that other religions place the stress on looking for God, whereas Christianity is really all about God revealing Himself to us.
Christians Together, 18/01/2009