In my last post I talked about respectfully approaching God and seeking His presence. I discussed this portion of Elizabeth Barrett Browning’s poem:
Earth’s crammed with heaven,
And every common bush afire with God:
But only he who sees, takes off his shoes;
The rest sit ’round it and pluck blackberries
My sister-in-law pointed out that where she used to live it was common practice to take off your shoes when entering someone’s home. A lot of countries have this practice as a sign of respect before entering a home or mosque. She mentions it is also a very humbling gesture and had some thought provoking follow-up questions.
What exactly does it look like to approach God respectfully and how do we do that on a daily basis? I can’t pretend to know all the answers to this, but I do have a few thoughts on it.
Approaching God respectfully. As I mentioned in the last post, I love that I can come to God like I am. I love that everyone can. He hears us when we are ineloquent, broken, confused, and angry. He hears us when we are selfish, sad, hurt, or happy. This is good news for us. I don’t think it is always our words to Him that matter so much as our heart. When we have a heart willing to humble itself where the Lord is revealing Himself – that is taking off our shoes and respectfully approaching God. Taking off our shoes in front of others can be humbling just as pouring out our heart to God and asking for His presence is also humbling.
Taking off my shoes daily. I think mainly this is a matter of paying attention. I am afraid I miss what is going on around me because I am not making an effort to see. I overlook God’s glory around me. I daily overlook Him in the small things. I take for granted His goodness. The evidence of God is everywhere and it is very good:
And God saw everything that he had made, and behold, it was very good. -Genesis 1:31a
Even though the perfect world God created has sin in it now, His creation still has the goodness He created and He is always extending an invitation for us to experience it. I find that when I choose to look for Him with a pure, humble, and open heart then I see the burning bush. I see how earth is crammed with heaven and God’s goodness. On a daily basis I believe I can see what He has waiting for me. When I take the time to look for God in all things, it is sometimes surprising how He shows up.
This might be easiest to see in nature. Why do the leaves fall off the trees this time of year? Why is the White Pine the only pine that has needles that grow in bundles of five? How does the ocean stop where it needs to stop? These are all evidences of God’s goodness and creativity. What an awesome way for Him to show us His glory. I think that paying attention to the nature around us is possibly one of the best ways to humble our heart before God and respect Him. But definitely not the only place to take off our shoes.
I think sometimes I am waiting on a miracle to see God’s glory. I don’t think He has shown up unless a huge prayer request is answered in the exact way I was asking. When I am expecting God to show up in my everyday life, He does. God’s presence is more available to me than I can sometimes even imagine. When I realize that all I have to do is ask to see His presence, He will show me.
I hope that I can soften my heart and change my focus so that I am paying attention to God’s goodness; seeing those burning bushes afire with God. I hope my heart is pure and I can daily choose to look for Him and acknowledge His work in my life. I don’t want to take for granted His goodness. I don’t want to miss opportunities to serve Him and to be used for His glory.
In what ways is God revealing His glory to you? Through nature? Through His Word? Through opportunities to serve? What burning bushes are you seeing?