God in the Ordinary
The world around us is a remarkable place.
Author and theologian Thomas Merton expresses wonder at the amazing world in which we live. He writes, “Life is this simple: we are living in a world that is absolutely transparent and the divine is shining through it all the time. This is not just a nice story or a fable, it is true.” The fingerprints of a beauty-loving, imaginative Creator appear everywhere.
But do we take the time to notice the millions of details that make our surroundings incredible?
In my own decision to see Father in my everyday world, I’ve realized something. It’s one thing to obtain little bits of knowledge about biology, geology, the animal kingdom. It’s another thing to create the habit of seeing God’s fingerprints in my ordinary, mundane routines. I live in an apartment on the main road with a shortage of beluga whales and crickets. But here’s a fantastic truth.
No matter where you live, no matter how ordinary, there is no shortage of God. God loves to make Himself visible in the ordinary.
“I’ve heard this before,” you might be thinking to yourself. “But my world is very harsh. It’s empty. I don’t see God. If you knew what I’m going through, what my world looks like, you’d understand why I can’t see God’s hands.”
Dear heart, it is so difficult to be a person. The harshness you face right now is not unseen and it is not unknown. It is difficult to point your eyes so that they see—really see— the world outside yourself. When you’re sorting through chaotic thoughts and painful feelings, the very strength to begin to look at anything else seems like a faraway speck.
Heavenly Father knows your body inside out (Ps. 104:14). He knows we possess eyes that struggle to see the aphids or the stars or the clouds or the faces of the people who pass us on the street. He knows we have trouble seeing.
Rather than condemning us or shaming our struggle, He leaves His miracles in everything ordinary—so that we can’t help but see them if we know how.
Before you try again to see Him in your world, go ahead and just rest in His thoughtfulness. Let yourself smile to think how many birds and concerts and full moons and dandelion puffs and funny-shaped strawberries He’s left, just for the time, you see them.
Now, when you feel its time, take one tiny step toward looking for His fingerprints. It is through these steps of bravery and childlike faith that you’ll begin to begin to see Him.
My Grandma says, “Look up at the sky! All of that is for free. We can look and look and look for free and sometimes it’s spectacular.”
Nature shouts and dances because it’s so full of God’s beauty. You might not have an open sky that displays the sunset fully for you. But, remember, God loves the little things. In the end, they aren’t little at all.
Wherever you are today, take a moment today to look around—really look—and notice what you see. You might spy a janitor changing a light bulb so that shoppers can see. You might see a strawberry shaped like a letter L. You might be surprised to see all the beauty and kindness around you…even in the ordinary.
You might live a life you call ordinary. But this doesn’t disqualify you! Instead, you…running from errand to errand, pressing through noisy thoughts, wiping away tears, loading your dishwasher…you are invited to curiously explore your everyday life to uncover Him.
He says that if you do, you will see Him.
I’m so glad that Your name Emmanuel really does mean “God with us.”
Thank you that You’re with me every day, in every way.
Forgive me for when I’ve not looked for You with both my eyes and all of my heart.
Please keep my heart open to remember that what gives moments meaning is not the moments themselves but Your presence in them.
I love you, Father.
About the Author
Elizabeth Filipe is an avid audiobook listener, a creative writer, and an intrepid tree climber. She is currently on the final stretch of earning a Bachelor's Degree in Liberal Arts, which she hopes to use while she explores the world and the people in it. She enjoys putting her active curiosity to work, asking dozens of questions a day. These include: What makes a clock tick? What makes people smile when they see babies? What does God's voice sound like? Elizabeth is a former resident of the Fold who is passionate about sharing and showing the love that the gentlest Shepherd has for His sheep. She lives in Shrewsbury, Massachusetts.