I’ve disconnected for the last few days from phones and computers. I’ve learned the hard way what it feels like to near empty and what happens when I ignore the gauge, go on running on fumes and self-determination. I know how important it is, before reaching empty, to be with people who fill me back up and in lots of silence too.
At times like this, I find myself wanting to sense God so badly, so in need of proof that He’s here and notices me, so thirsty like the deer is for water, that I get angry with God for not being more tangible, for being what seems like aloof. I ask for God’s comfort, joy, strength, and demand to immediately or very quickly receive it. I want a miracle, a supernatural encounter, an epiphany, a burning bush or blinding light and what I get instead is steady silence under the trees in the front yard.
In yesterday’s steady silence I picked up A.W. Tozer’s The Pursuit Of God and read these words written in 1948:
Receptivity is not a single thing; rather it is a compound, a blending of several elements within the soul. It is affinity for, bent toward, a sympathetic response to, a desire to have. From this it may be gathered that it can be present in degrees, that we may have little or more, depending upon the individual. It may be increased by exercise or destroyed by neglect. It is not a sovereign and irresistible force which comes upon on us as a seizure from above. It is a gift of God, indeed, but one which must be recognized and cultivated as any other gift if we are to realize the purpose for which it was given.
Failure to see this is the cause of a very serious breakdown in modern evangelicalism. The idea of cultivation and exercise, so dear to the saints of old, has now no place in our total religious picture. It is too slow, too common. We now demand glamour and fast-flowing dramatic action. A generation of Christians reared among push buttons and automatic machines is impatient of slower and less direct methods of reaching their goals. We have been trying to apply machine-age methods to our relations with God. We read our chapter, have our short devotions and rush away, hoping to make up for our deep inward bankruptcy by attending another gospel meeting or listening to another thrilling story told by a religious adventurer lately returned from afar.
…Let us say it again: The universal Presence is a fact. God is here. The whole universe is alive with His life. And He is no strange or foreign God, but the familiar Father of our Lord Jesus Christ whose love has for these thousands of years enfolded the sinful race of men. And always He is trying to get our attention, to reveal Himself to us, to communicate with us. We have within us the ability to know Him if we will but respond to His overtures. (And this we call pursuing God!) We will know Him in increasing degrees as our receptivity becomes more perfect by faith and love and practice.