Day 12 John 11:17-44
Living with God cannot be compartmentalized into units such as prayer time, devotions, worship and so forth. Living with God is a twenty-four hour, seven day a week, three hundred and sixty-five days a year endeavor. You are always in His presence and He in yours. The intimacy of Him abiding in you through the Holy Spirit means that communication is not limited to the spoken word or the written Word. Living with God means you are constantly connected with the Lord.
Francis deSales was bishop of Geneva during the time when Geneva was under strict Calvinist rule, a time of great religious conflict between Catholics and Protestants throughout Europe. While there was great animosity and even violence over religious views during the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, deSales stood out as a proponent for holiness and Christ-like love. His book Introduction to a Devout Life remains a classic concerning living a life of total devotion to and love of God. In it deSales encourages readers “to retire occasionally into the solitude of your heart while you are outwardly engaged in business or conversation.” The last part of that statement is what is intriguing. He encourages a meditative attitude while outwardly engaged in business or conversation. In other words, you do not withdraw from your daily life to reflect and connect with God. You commune with Him even as you are amid your regular daily activities.
The Gospels share how our Lord modeled this for us every day. While there are examples of Him getting away from the crowds for quiet times in prayer, there are other instances where He was in constant communication with the Father even while engaged in other activities. In John 11, we read of the death of Jesus’ friend Lazarus and how the Lord came to the gravesite to comfort Lazarus’ sisters. After telling the people to remove the stone covering the grave and reminding Martha to believe, Jesus made an interesting statement. “Jesus looked up and said, ‘Father, I thank you that you have heard me. 42 I knew that you always hear me, but I said this for the benefit of the people standing here, that they may believe that you sent me.’” (John 11:41-42). Nowhere do we read that Jesus uttered an audible prayer prior to this, yet He thanks the Father for hearing Him.
How had the Father heard Jesus if He had not spoken? Jesus was in constant communion with the Father. In His spirit – in His very soul – Jesus was always connected with God the Father. This was not merely because He was one with the Father as a member of the Trinity. As He walked this earth, Jesus demonstrated for all how they could live in communion with God.
The tendency of most people is to walk in a segmented way. Now, I may sit and focus on my writing without giving thought of others that may be in the room, least of all God. That is not to say I don’t want to acknowledge Him or others, it is just that I am used to tunneling my vision at the cost of staying “connected” to anyone else in this moment. We can tend to think that we must separate ourselves from others and from other activities when we want to commune with God. But as Scripture reveals and as others testify, we can fully engage with God at any time, even while we are doing other things. Our spirit can communicate with His Spirit and vice versa.
Right now, you are probably reading this devotional apart from others. You may be open to God as you read this as you consider this a spiritual activity. Try continuing this openness to the Lord as you continue with other activities throughout this day and week. Consider how you can walk with Him with an awareness of His constant presence and with a sense of sharing with Him all that takes place in your life.