Surely the LORD is in this place, and I did not know it. (Gen. 28:16)
Recently I read this phrase “The art of deep seeing makes gratitude possible”. Ann Voskamp, the author of One Thousand Gifts went onto say, “And it is the art of gratitude that makes joy possible”.
Like Jacob, I have to wonder how many times I have experienced life without the slightest awareness of God’s presence. Theologically we know that God is omnipresent, absolutely always present. Psalm 139 reveals to us with a poetry that lifts the veil of mystery and rivets us to a wonderful truth – we could not escape His presence if we tried! And that is a deep part of the good news that we call Gospel. No matter what joy I experience or challenge I endure – HE, the great I AM, is there. Wonderful! And the truth that must follow is that if He is there, He in some way or another is active. Whether I see it or not.
I think my mistake has been that I reduce my awareness of God’s presence to something identifiable or maybe even something enjoyable. A prayer answered that way I would like or my heart warming during a time of worship or an exciting insight while reading the scriptures speaks to me of His presence. But the reality is – He is always present and active. But if those things that I enjoy do not happen, does that not mean God is not present? I know the right answer theologically, but what is my heart saying? And once again I think of Jacob’s words “the Lord is in this place and I did not know”. Here is my discovery- To reduce my awareness of God’s presence to only those things that I enjoy reduces my potential for experiencing Him. Gratitude then lies dormant and lifeless and joy stunted and conditional.
I need and want “the art of deep seeing”. Perhaps the beatitude “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God” (Matt.5:8) is speaking to this truth. May the Lord purge and purify our hearts from all that limit our vision of this amazing God. Pure hearts help to produce clear vision of the ever present Father who loves us.