I thought my world was caving in and I feared my sanity was starting to crumble. My normal ways of coping were failing and I was losing control of my life. So I retreated to the one place where I had always found solace in difficult times past—the wooded outdoors. Only this time it was different . . . very different. In Kairos, (an opportune moment), I try to capture a sense of this unexpected divine encounter and its impact upon my life.
I believe one of the greatest challenges for Christians in the West is knowing how to break free from the sacred/secular divide in how we think about God’s interaction with human beings. This paradigm relegates spiritual matters like faith and religion to one domain (sacred) and the rest of life (secular) to an entirely separate sphere. Such thinking is deadly for a vibrant faith because it obscures awareness of God’s dynamic activity always and everywhere in all of life . . . even when it occurs right before our eyes.
Scripture, however, paints a more holistic picture of God’s engagement with humanity and creation. His abiding presence is with us anywhere, everywhere, and anytime (Psalm 139: 7-10); God is never far from those who seek him (Acts 17:27); he is not limited to buildings or locations (Acts 17:24); and his glory is powerfully revealed in nature (Psalm 19:1). Yet, why do so many of us who affirm such scriptures, still struggle to recognize and experience God’s presence beyond the walls of our churches and the religious activities we practice? Old paradigms die hard.
Sacred vs. secular assumptions will continue to stifle a holistic understanding of God’s presence unless we are intentional in training our minds to think differently and our hearts to anticipate God’s presence. The greatest thing we can do to nurture such minds and sensitize such hearts is regularly practice silence and solitude. Otherwise we will become frustrated and discouraged by this disconnect between what we believe and what we experience. Eventually, we can fall prey to a jaded faith.
How about you? Are you a troubled traveler seeking solutions with thoughts racing, heart pounding, and body exhausted? If so, be encouraged because often our most impacting moments with God fall on the heels of crises. For in these times, desperation has a way of spurring the kind of prayer that learns to wait in silence and linger in solitude long enough to begin “hearing” God’s voice and “seeing” his activity in ways we never before noticed.
Author: David Trementozzi
David Trementozzi is married to his wife, Emily and they have three children—Judah, Kaleb, and Halle. David likes to write on topics related to Christian faith and their contemporary relevance. He has a B.A. in Psychology (Messiah College), Masters of Divinity, and Ph.D in Theology (Regent University). David is currently a professor of Theology at Continental Theological Seminary in Brussels, Belgium. https://davidtrementozzi.com/author/ctsbrussels/