It's strange how many things I don't see.
Last weekend Deb and I hired a car and got an upgrade from “smallest and cheapest” to a new Volkswagen Golf, turbo diesel. It was the best care I've ever driven, everything was slick and smooth and powerful. Since giving it back (slightly reluctantly), I've seen similar models everywhere. Unless there's been a conspiracy among Golf owners to remind me of how nice their cars are, the only logical explanation is that there are always this many of them around where I live but I've never noticed them before. It's funny the difference it makes when something has your attention.
When not driving or noticing Golfs, I've been working my way through Professor John Lennox's book, God's Undertaker: Has Science Buried God? Reading it makes me realise the complexity of life at every stage: from the massive forces involved in maintaining the universe, to how DNA has been working in me and every other created thing, ever. If these discoveries captured my attention the way that Golf did, I wouldn't be able to walk down my street without staring at every plant and person, and shouting “Woooooowwwwww” with amazement (or the slightly more socially-acceptable but still awkward stunned silence) as I thought about the incredible complications that had brought each of them about and were at work in and around them right there and then.
To take this even further, a few months ago I read Brother Lawrence's spiritual classic, The Practice of the Presence of God. Lawrence's conviction that God was always near led him to cultivate an attitude of continual attention towards Him:
“I make it my priority to persevere in His holy presence, wherein I maintain a simple attention and a fond regard for God, which I may call an actual presence of God. Or, to put it another way, it is an habitual, silent, and private conversation of the soul with God. This gives me much joy and contentment.”
Christianity proclaims a God who comes near to us, who lived among us as one of us, and dwells now with those who put their trust in Him. Jesus really should have His followers' attention, what wonderful things they'll see and do when He does.
Earth's crammed with heaven,
And every common bush afire with God;
But only he who sees, takes off his shoes,
The rest sit round it and pluck blackberries,
And daub their natural faces unaware.
Elizabeth Barrett Browning, Aurora Leigh
Or as Jacob put it:
“Surely the LORD is in this place, and I did not know it.”