Last week I was feeling rather dry and depressed inside. I couldn’t find anything to listen to on my evening commute–none of the many audiobooks I have seemed to fit the bill, and none of the music I have on my phone seemed to satisfy.
Then I remembered a friend of mine had a new podcast which I had loaded on my phone and forgotten about, so I figured it wouldn’t hurt. It definitely didn’t hurt, and in fact, it helped quite a bit.
One of the resources my friend A.J. mentioned was the book The Practice of the Presence of God, by Brother Lawrence (links: Kindle, paperback, online). I’ve read this book several times before, but needed the reminder to take another look at it, because Brother Lawrence, a French monk who lived in the 1600’s, tapped into something powerful: the fact that we can experience God every moment of every day, by God’s grace.
No matter how much of God we have experienced, we as humans tend to forget that God is present and active in every moment of our lives. So we get distracted and forget to tune into his voice and his presence. This is not something we should feel guilty about (that feeling only serves to turn our attentions to fixing ourselves, in which way lies madness, but rather to turn our focus back to God:
That when he had failed in his duty, he only confessed his fault, saying to God, I shall never do otherwise, if You leave me to myself; it is You who must hinder my falling, and mend what is amiss. That after this, he gave himself no further uneasiness about it.
This short little collection of conversations is full of vital truths, but here is just one: when we fail in turning our attention to God, we can simply say, ‘unless you help me, God, this is normal’, and turn to him once more, with no sense of guilt or remorse (which, again, serves only to turn our attention to our failure to away from God).
That’s important. ‘Nothing can separate us from the love of Christ,’ the scripture says, and indeed, nothing has to separate us from Christ, unless we let it. Any shame is dealt with by humility: ‘Lord, this is a problem, I can’t fix it unless you help me, so I turn to you.’
I expect this book to once more change my life, as it has before. The reminder to turn to God in my moments of misery, and indeed, in every moment of every day, is something that I desperately need, every moment of every day, and something that you need as well.