What keeps you alert to God's activity?

Does life feel blah? Grey? Another slog through the day?

Of course, these emotions can be related to various causes. For instance, our biology, psychology, and/or our environment.

But one cause can be that we have lost our sense of enchantment with the world. Sometimes we lack any sense that Jesus is alive, reigning from heaven, and working all things together for the good of those who love him. Instead, it feels like evil is triumphing, the mechanistic gears of the universe are relentlessly turning, and we are just another cog in the machine.

I think of Moses, who was ‘shepherding the flock of his father-in-law Jethro, the priest of Midian.’ For a long time, the Israelites have been suffering under their harsh taskmasters in Egypt. Moses had violently attempted to do something about it, killing an Egyptian. But once he realized that Pharaoh knew and was seeking to kill him, he fled to Midian, a foreign land. Acts 7:30 tells us that Moses was in Midian for forty years. While there, he has a son named Gershom, which Dr. Walter Kaiser tells us means “lonely stranger.”

Let’s sit with that for a moment. For forty years, Moses has felt like a lonely stranger. He’s removed from his people. Perhaps he feels guilt and regret for killing the Egyptian. He feels helpless. There’s no indication that God will deliver his people from slavery. There’s no sense that Moses can participate in God’s purposes. It’s an aimless time, walking around with sheep, year after year, making it through life.

But then, in an ordinary but supernatural manner, “the angel of the Lord appeared to him in a flame of fire within a bush.” Moses sees it as remarkable - a bush, burning but not consumed - and goes over to examine it. Then God speaks to him, “Moses, Moses!”

How was Moses awakened to God and God’s plans?

He didn’t do anything. At best, we can credit him with looking at a burning bush, being curious, and going over to see more.

Why did God wait forty years? We don’t know. Perhaps Moses needed that time to be ready to hear God’s voice and accept, however reluctantly, the mission to lead the Israelites out of Egypt.

What’s the secret? God appeared to Moses.

The burning bush reveals the presence of God in ordinary life. Likewise, we are now granted God’s presence in ordinary life. Instead of a burning bush, we are given burning hearts - we are transformed and become the temple of the Holy Spirit.

In Acts 2, how does the Holy Spirit descend into the life of the early church? The Spirit appears as “tongues of fire” - a reminder, perhaps, of how the flames appeared in the burning bush.

It’s no good to ask how we can enter God’s presence. Or, how can we please God? Or, what religious activities can we accomplish so that God loves us? That would place heavy burdens on us.

Instead, given that God has already come to be with us, how are you alive to that reality today? What does it look like to have faith - to trust - that God has already included you in his love and invited you to participate in his mission?

Let’s encourage one another. What keeps you alert to God’s activity?


When we feel we have fewer resources than the challenges facing us, when we face repeated disappointment from others, when the future seems bleak, when our children suffer, when our health suffers, when marriages suffer, when we see strife and wickedness, when we face injustice, when God’s call on our lives seems unclear, it feels that way. Its difficult to muster the strength for the day at times. When overwhelming emotions cloud our thinking, how can we even speak about acting upon God’s promises, when we can’t even remember them?

As real as the feelings of disenchantment with the world are, there are certain things that have helped me stay the course with God. It usually starts with a recognition that the strong feelings will pass and submission to God in prayer and a plea for His help in the situation. I try to engage in physical activity, something creative, or take time with God’s creation. Once the overwhelming feelings have passed, I make myself read the Bible or a Christian book even if I am not in a mood for it. After some time of reading biblical truths, I am amazed at how the Lord uses scripture, His creation, reason, a past experience or wisdom from matured believers for me to regain a wholesome perspective and awe for God and His world.

An explanation about why God doesn’t make His existence too obvious in a book by Clay Jones, “Why does God allow evil?” (Pgs 111, 112) has been helpful to me in this regard.

The Lord gives enough evidence of His existence so that those who want to believe will have their beliefs justified, but not so much evidence that those who dont want to believe will be forced to feign loyalty.

This is so because if God’s existence were at every moment absolutely unmistakable, then many people would abstain from desires that they might otherwise indulge.

God is after developing true worshippers, and He wants us to grow in our ability to stay alert to God’s activity even in His hiddenness. Knowing that God himself through Christ suffered the cruelty of this world convicts me of His love. In the moments of my human weakness, I recognize my need for dependence on God. As I meditate on how God was faithful in the past, I am able to have faith for the future. A faith not for the hoped outcomes but a faith that no matter the outcomes, God’s purposes for his children are good and He will always be just. (Ps 5:4).

These are few ways that have helped me but I have much to learn and curious about thoughts from others.


I was just going to say that remembering what God has done in the past is often a very helpful tool to have hope for what he is yet to do. True, sometimes our minds can be so weighed down by life that to systematically think through God’s promises from the past can be too great a task. In those moments, it’s sometimes only possible to ask a friend to pray because even that seems to much to bear by one’s self.

I often think to Psalm 105 that exhorted Israel to recall God’s acts in the past. In a culture that was full of oral tradition, the constant retelling of stories, this practice of holding onto promises of the past may have seemed easier. In the west, we don’t have an oral tradition anymore. We don’t constantly gather together and retell familiar stories of God’s mighty deeds in the way the Israelites would have practised. Maybe this cultural difference makes it harder for us to clear our minds and remember God’s promises in the murkiness? I’m sure it’s all more complex than this, but it’s certainly a point that has struck me in the past.


Very true. That brings us back to the importance of community again. A text message, an email, a phone call or a visit from a friend are all ways God has used to encourage and remind me of His care in the past.