Sometimes we go through periods in life when God seems to be far away or absent from our lives. Maybe we need to rediscover what the Celtic Christians called the thin places. Those places where worlds meet, where heaven and earth intersect and where we can rediscover at the edge in the ordinary yet seemingly dangerous places in life. At such times, we seem to be focused and afraid of the shadows and the dark places, and yet we are unable and unwilling to move beyond what we perceive to be a safe place in life. We hold on to our securities and don’t like our understandings challenged. We become suspicious and afraid of a God beyond our control, and we hold on to our domesticated version of God, who is tame, none threatening and predictable.
There is a lot of talk about God being within us as if God were ours to possess in such circumstances. By implication, we seem to imply that God is a part of us, and we are big enough to contain and control him. Thus, we cage God up so that he fits into our perception of the world. No wonder God seems so far from us, for in doing this, we appear to be saying that we are God. Yet, the reality is that “In Him, we live and move and have our being.” Perhaps, it is because we have domesticated God, attempted to tame God, and failed to adventure with God that we have failed to comprehend that the God who is beyond us is also the One who is near us. Only when we venture out from our places of safety and security, do we participate in what God is doing or aiming to do in the world. Only when we adventure with God in the uncomfortable places and at times unsafe places can we discover the God who is immanent and yet transcendent. Thus, we need to learn afresh to put aside our own need for safety and security and our overwhelming desire to tame and domesticate God and let God be God. In doing so, we draw near to the One who meets us in our explorations and adventures, in our weakness and failings, and our need for a God who is at the same time immanent and transcendent.