I can’t do anything about God’s Presence, but I can fail to be open to it, and that is when I am in crisis. My arrogance and self-will have been at times a barrier to God’s presence for me. That’s when I am in crisis. Sometimes it is not easy to be open. When I am, regardless of other circumstances, God is there.
I have been inordinately blessed in my life. Simply being born white and male into an educated family has assured that my struggle would not be very difficult. Yet, I have had crisis in my life. A few years ago it was related to a job choice that I’d made, an attempt to follow a dream that didn’t work out the way I’d hoped. It was a tremendously hard time for me. There were moments when I felt lost, spinning off into oblivion. At the same time, I held on tightly to the dream. My ego insisted that I see it through by any means possible. I was in crisis until I let go of what my own ego wanted, and opened myself to God’s will. My life is different today than I expected because I let God guide me through hard times.
Years ago I read a book by Rufus Jones called The Double Search. For Jones, it is the essence of human nature to reach out to God, and it is the essence of God to reach out to us. The “absence” of the Holy Spirit is not absence at all, but human failure to participate with God. Our job, my job, is to search.
A few months after our daughter, Megan, was born, Carol, Megan and I stopped by Harrisburg Friends Meeting. I was immediately struck by a feeling that I was in a good place. The silence was beautiful. A few people spoke, from their heart, not from their authority. When Megan, started to fuss, a Friend gently showed Carol to a place where she could comfortably nurse. At the rise of meeting we were greeted in a gently and caring way. We took some literature, and what caught my eye was a reference to Seeking. Quakers, I read, were people who continually seek to know God, to understand God better, to be in relationship with God. Quakers didn’t offer “The Answer” but rather, a way of searching for God. How that resonated for me!
More than three decades later I am still searching. For me the answer is the Search. I know God is near, I feel God’s spirit. When I let my ego take control, I can lose sight of God. When I let my guard down and allow God into my life, God is always there.
-- John Munson