By Michael Barwick
Michelangelo’s famous painting of the creation of Adam that pictures God as an old man in the sky is an enduring image of the divine. While a vision of great beauty and instructive in part, it implies that God is somehow “up there” rather than anywhere else.
Nothing could be further from the truth.
I was fortunate to be taught as a child that God is everywhere or, as Catholic poet Gerald Manly Hopkins put it in his poem about the subject, “the world is charged with the grandeur of God.” God is everywhere because God is the fundamental ground of existence, the source of being for all the other “beings” — you included.
If God is everywhere, then that means within you and without you, God is. In fact, that means that God is closer to you than you are to yourself, because God’s connection to you is complete where as you are only connected to certain parts of yourself some of the time, and some parts of yourself not at all.
This is all to say the simple truth: God’s very nature is to meet you where you are all the time. This is why in Deuteronomy 4:29, we find the notion that if you search for God honestly and sincerely, you will find him. How could you not? He’s so close by that he pervades us and everything around us all the time.
But if from there you seek the Lord your God, you will find him if you seek him with all your heartand with all your soul.
Much damage has been done by pointing to and over-emphasizing that because God is connected so intimately with us, God knows about our sins too. God’s knowledge of us is used as a weapon to inflict guilt.
But I say it is at least if not more important that God sees the intrinsic radiance, truth, and fundamental goodness of everyone he has created. What’s more, I believe he takes great delight in the inner beauty of his work and the creative unfolding of its potentials through time.
Our God is a God of love and his justice is mercy. God loves us how we are and where we are in the present moment. The past is the past. The future is yet to be. Now is the time when we can connect with God with our whole being.
God meets us where we are.