The word is near you,
on your lips and in your heart.
- Roman 10:8
Where is God when the world is falling apart? Is God high up in the heavens or beyond the sea? And if God is so inaccessible, how can we seek the help we need? Both the ancient book of Deuteronomy and Paul tell us the same thing - you don’t need to look so far away. God is right here with us already - as near as your own breath or your own heartbeat.
This assurance is important to remember as we head into the season of Lent. It’s a season of self examination and repentance and a time to do some spiritual work, take on new spiritual disciplines and learn more about our life in God. It can sometimes seem daunting to figure out how we’re supposed to listen to God’s direction for our lives. Do we need to find a special teacher or read an instructional book or take up some kind of meditation or something? The ancient answer is no - do not go searching far and wide. God is right here. Simply find ways to open your heart and your mind to God’s word, which is already very near you. Just find a way to get the usual noise and clutter out of the way so you can better hear the word that has been implanted in your soul.
It is true that God is beyond all knowing, mysterious and unfathomable. But when it comes to being in relationship with God, we don’t have to have any particular super powers of understanding or wisdom. We just need to open ourselves to what we’ll somehow know is the next right step. Much of our lives are spent in auto pilot without much conscious listening at all, but Lent invites us to intentionally carve out some time and space to be quiet and listen better.
There are the traditional ways of doing this - fasting or praying or giving things away. But there are many variations on the traditional Lenten practices. You can think about some of the ways you could simplify your own day to day life for the next 40 days to make room to be still more often. How might you quiet your life down for a season? How can you make some space to better hear the word that is so very near you?