"O Lord, you have searched me and known me! You know when I sit down and when I rise up; you discern my thoughts from afar. You search out my path and my lying down and are acquainted with all my ways."
Passages like this one aren't telling us how to get close to God. They are pointing to the fact that God is near to us - closer than we ever imagined! When we get trapped inside of routines and patterns that distract us from God's presence, it requires steps of faith to reengage the God who is powerfully and abundantly near. While that may require us to leave behind our comfort zones, we can be sure that God will not disappoint us, but will provoke awe and gratitude like what is found in the Psalms: "Praise him, sun and moon, praise him, all you shining stars! Praise him, you highest heavens, and you waters above the heavens." (Psalm 148:3-4)
We are meant to sing with the sun and moon and stars! Our humanity flourishes when we are enjoying God's presence. This joy will come as we disrupt lifeless patterns and break from paths leading us to the same old dead ends. Without these disruptions, the reality of God begins to fade into the background. As we lose sight of God, we therefore, lose contact with our true calling and purpose as people made in God's image. We soon find ourselves feeling frustrated and defeated at eery turn. What we need is to go outside.
I've had the privilege of going for long walks in the mountains. These wild and untamed spaces are spectacular classrooms where God's beauty and power are on display. I've had the privilege of seeing individuals take bold and courageous steps of faith in pursuit of God and His kingdom. When we are pilgrims and have yet to arrive home, we must share with each other evidence and stories of God's love and mercy, His presence. Thankfully, instead of straining to see Him in all of His holiness, God has come near to us in the work of Jesus. So together, we fix our eyes on Him as we take the next step.
* The above excerpt was taken from the introduction to Chad's book, Go Outisde. If you are interested in a copy of the book, click here.