Pastor John Ortberg’s premise in writing God is Closer Than You Think is that the story of the Bible primarily is about God’s desire to be with people. The author notes that the Bible’s most frequent promise is “I will be with you.” God becomes a living presence when we are able to see Him in ordinary moments at ordinary places. In order to do that, we need to develop perseverance, discipline and discernment so that we’re not dependent on extraordinary manifestations of God’s presence. As we acquire those skills, we’ll discover that our ordinary days have extraordinary moments in them.
To live out this commitment in our Christian walk, Pastor Ortberg tells us that we must be willing to sit at Jesus’ feet- to be covered with the dust of the Rabbi. This places our focus on the present moment, the greatest moment of our lives- for this is the moment where God is. If we’re to be with God at all, it must be in this moment. Yet we are not meant to embrace moments, which are not always good, but God. Distorted beliefs and destructive feelings are crowded out as our minds become increasingly receptive to God’s presence in our thoughts. Although we must intentionally make our minds God’s dwelling place, it is only through the power of the Holy Spirit that this change is effected.
As God’s uniquely created people, we draw close to God through specific Christian spiritual pathways inherently suited to our character. C. S. Lewis once pointed out in The Great Divorce that the alternative to such surrender is defiant separation. Even when we feel God’s absence, if we genuinely open ourselves to God we’ll discover that we’re not alone after all. Ultimately, there is no place where God’s presence can’t break into you!