Living Fully Awake

When Jacob awoke from his sleep, he thought, “Surely the Lord was in this place, and I was not aware of it.” 
–Genesis 28:16

I was having lunch with a friend, when in the middle of our conversation, he said, “What we really need is for God to show up.”

Perhaps you’ve heard this phrase before. Perhaps you’ve even used it yourself.

It got me thinking. Why do we talk about God this way? It’s as if we believe that God is normally somewhere else, doing something else, and that what we really need is for God to somehow stop being “there” and start being “here.” Often, we want God to be “here” because (if we were truly honest) it seems that He’s somewhere else. But, perhaps He is closer than we’ve ever considered, but we’re just not awake to it.

The Scriptures remind us that God’s presence fills all of creation. There is no place that He is not. The question is not where is God in our world; the better question is: Are we awake enough to see Him? We live in a God-drenched world as Isaiah reminds us when he says, “Holy, holy, holy is the LORD Almighty; the whole earth is filled with his glory.”

Moses was living in Midian when he went out one day with his flock. He climbed a familiar mountain in the area, Mount Horeb. On this day, something extraordinary was going to happen. I’ve heard people say that the burning bush Moses saw was God’s way of getting Moses’ attention. I wonder.

I wonder if the burning bush was not an attention-getter, but rather God’s way of testing Moses, to see if he would awaken to what was all around him. The question is not whether the bush got Moses’ attention, but rather, how long it took Moses to notice that the bush was not burning up. Moses would have had to stop and take in the sight… and watch. The bush is on fire. The bush is still burning. The bush is not being burned up. It is only when God notices that Moses was in tune with what was going on around him that He spoke to Moses. Fascinating.

I have this feeling that our world is filled with burning bushes. God is not out there, somewhere. He is here. He is near. He is as close to us as our very breath. So the question is not, “Where is God in this world?” The more important question is, “Are we living fully awake, fully aware of the presence of God in our world?”

1. Why is it that we often miss the burning bushes of our lives?

2. How can we live more fully awake to God’s presence?

Genesis 28:10-17; Exodus 3:1-6; Isaiah 6:1-5

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Mike DeVries

Mike DeVries is a husband, father and a veteran pastor and youth pastor. He is an adjunct professor at Azusa Pacific University in the School of Theology.

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