Most of my life, I have thought of God as being “out there” – certainly involved in, but nevertheless beyond and separate from, all that he has created and continues to love and sustain, just as I am somehow outside and beyond a picture I have drawn although there is much of me invested in it.
It is only in recent years that I have been discovering that God is not separate from me, waiting to be “invited in”. He is, and always has been, deep within me, which is why I am created “in his image” (and hopefully growing more into his “likeness”). I’m not saying that I am God! But God is the core of my being. “In him, I live and move and have my being” (Acts 17:28). “I am in Christ and Christ is in me” (see John 14:20 and similar verses). We are inseparable – and always have been, whatever my mind has been thinking or saying or believing, because that is how he has created me.
Three weeks after writing this, I read this lovely quotation by Augustine of Hippo (354-430) which I think is saying something similar (I have added the bold emphasis)……
“Late have I loved you, O Beauty ever ancient, ever new, late have I loved you! You were within me, but I was outside, and it was there that I searched for you. In my unloveliness I plunged into the lovely things which you created. You were with me, but I was not with you. Created things kept me from you; yet if they had not been in you they would not have been at all. You called, you shouted, and you broke through my deafness. You flashed, you shone, and you dispelled my blindness. You breathed your fragrance on me; I drew in breath and now I pant for you. I have tasted you, now I hunger and thirst for more. You touched me, and I burned for your peace.”
As we enter a New Year, may we all search ‘inside’ and discover more of God deep within us, where he has always been – as well as seeing God ‘out there’, at the core of all Creation (including everyone else, even our ‘enemies’). And know that God therefore experiences everything, including our suffering, within each of us, even when we feel abandoned and perhaps cry out “Where are you?”