“But none saith, Where is God my maker, who giveth songs in the night.”
I once heard a story of a little boy who was in his Sunday School class one Sunday morning. He had this problem of always being absent minded and while his teacher taught his mind was far away. The teacher was teaching them basic catechismal lessons. At one point, as is a good practice to ensure that students are following what is being taught, the teacher asked the boy, “where is God?” Apparently he had just taught the class about that but the boy didn’t have the slightest idea of what the teacher was talking about, so he only returned a blank and surprised look. The teacher thought he didn’t hear his question properly and asked again, “where is God?” But the boy became only more confused. The teacher got irritated at his silence because it was a simple question that he had just told the class, so he didn’t expect that to be a hard question for any student in his class to answer. So he raised his voice and demanded from the boy, “where is God?” At this the boy ran out of the class crying as he did so. His mother found him outside shortly after and asked him, “Henry, why are you not in your class and why are you crying?” His response was, “my teacher kept asking me where is God as if I stole God.”
It is this simple question I wish to ask each and every reader today. Where is God? This is not catechismal question of which we know the simple answer is, “God is in Heaven.” It is not a Geography question for we do not seek to know God’s location on the earth or the universe beyond. For we know that God is everywhere at the same time and that there is no where that he’s not. But the question I put forward today is a personal question of self examination. I would wish each and everyone take time to examine his or her life and give a honest answer to this question. “Where is God in my life?”
If we are to live a fulfilling life we need to ask ourselves this question as often as possible. Does God have his rightful place in your life? Does he occupy his rightful place as King and Lord, or is he non-existent there? For God would either be Lord or nothing at all to us. Does he govern our affairs, conducts, words, relationships, and our life generally? Do we ever examine our lives, considering these things, and ask, “where is God?”
Today we have people who sit down and think of the education of their little child, make great plans for him or her, think hard about how to make it a reality, but more often than not there is no thought of God in all that plan. No one stops to ask, “in all this plan I’m making for my child, where is God?”
As children also grow up, they begin to be aware of what life is, what is expected of them in life and what to expect of life. They too begin to make plans to meet these expectations too. Some say “when I grow up I want to be a pilot.” Others say “when I grow up I want to be a doctor.” They work towards this dream, but few or none think, “where is God in this dream for my future?”
People develop wondrous business plans, nations come up with great proposals for great things, they come up with laws, policies, lofty projections, etc., but how many stop to ask, “where is God in all these?” God is almost out of everything in our lives at every level these days. When we search for him he’s no where to be found. We’ve given him no place. Then why won’t the world sink into confusion and bleed away?
Because God is kept out of our view, plans, nations, and sadly, even church, the world is sinking into a state of catastrophe. This is a natural phenomenon. By God were all things made, in him do all things consist, and by his wisdom are all things held together (Colossians 1:16-17). The moment he’s out of anywhere the centre would no longer hold. And like in the words of the famous Nigerian author, Chinua Achebe, when the centre can no longer hold, things fall apart. God is the centre of all things (I speak not geographically, but in terms of prominence of his person and of his being the causative factor and sustainer of all things). Where he is not, things are bound to fall apart.
It is my advice to individuals to have God in everything they do, desire, or plan. For the Christian person, the thought of God in all that we do should be as natural to us as sleeping when we are tired and waking when we are refreshed. We must be ever desirous to know what to do for God at each point in time as well as think carefully about how each thing we wish to do or achieve would affect our service to him.
William Cowper (1731-1800) wrote the following words,
“How long beneath the Law I lay
In bondage and distress!
I toiled the precept to obey,
But toiled without success.
Then to abstain from outward sin
Was more than I could do;
Now, if I feel its power within,
I feel I hate it too.
Then all my servile works were done
A righteousness to raise;
Now, freely chosen in the Son,
I freely choose His ways.
What shall I do was then the word,
That I may worthier grow?
What shall I render to the Lord?
Is my inquiry now.
To see the Law by Christ fulfilled,
And hear His pardoning voice;
Changes a slave into a child,
And duty into choice.”
When we think of all that Christ has done for us, the utter despondency of our case and his wondrous salvation that brought life to us, we can’t but ask like Cowper, “What shall I render to the Lord? Is my inquiry now.” In the same spirit of gratitude the Psalmist also wrote, “What shall I render unto the LORD for all his benefits toward me?” (Psalm 116:12). What shall we do for God would always be in our heart, and for each plan and endeavour we shall ever be willing to find God’s place in them.
Under such feeling of gratitude for what Christ had done for us and his pardoning voice, and how it made a slave (or worse than a slave) into a child, it naturally changes duty into choice. We are no longer compelled to do his will, but our choice shall from henceforth be his will. In everything we do, we shall be able to ask, “where is God in all these.” And asking that we shall give him the prominent place in all our life’s endeavour.
But how about little children? They too need to give that question a definite answer. In all they do and plan for the future they must also make room for God. Here are some words by Cecil F. Alexander, in A Church School Hymn-Book, by Walter F. Hook (Leeds, England: 1850):
“We are but little children weak,
Nor born in any high estate;
What can we do for Jesus’ sake,
Who is so high and good and great?”
“O day by day each Christian child
Has much to do, without, within;
A death to die for Jesus’ sake,
A weary war to wage with sin.”
“There’s not a child so weak and small
But has his little cross to take,
His little work of love and praise,
That he may do for Jesus’ sake.”
So children too have so much to do for God. From childhood to our dying day, we must ever seek to find a place for God in all of our life’s endeavours. As a nation too we must find a place for God and let it be a prominent place. Failure to do this would be robbery. I feel sad to see that nations are increasingly sidelining God. Our schools fail to teach morals, ethics, belief in God and the fear of God. Rather what is being promoted is unbelief in him.
Even in the international community, God does not seem to be in any of the considerations of theirs. They talk about climate, talk about peace, talk about education, but little or no regard is given to God and his word. Rather they choose the exact opposite. Just look at the manner of people they choose for ambassadors. They choose celebrities who live profane and immoral lives. People renown for fornication, adultery, unfaithfulness, and all manner of lewdness. They choose such people as ambassadors. If you’re going to be choosing people as ambassadors they ought to be people who we can put forward to our children for their emulatable qualities. Not such as we’d have to hide the eyes of our children from, lest they get corrupted. The international community, by such stupid choices show how much disregard they have towards God and his holy commands that instructs us to be chaste, pious, truthful, and to love our neighbours as ourselves, and to promote the same. They act as if it were possible for us to be our own gods. But we can’t be our own God. The folly of this their actions shall be made bare in plain light sooner or later.
However, can we on our part pause for a moment and consider? Can we say that there is a definite prominent place for God in our lives, plan for the future, etc.? Let us examine ourselves. Let us search our hearts with the torch of God’s word for, “The entrance of thy words giveth light…” (Psalm 119:130). Let us examine ourselves with this brilliant light to enable us see clearly where we’ve placed God in our lives and affairs.
Let us, as reasonable people of our dear Lord, not follow the foolish ways of the world in sidelining God. Let us hallow the name of God and give his rightful place in our lives. Let us ever keep this question in our heart, “where is God my maker?” And may God help us to ever give an answer and response worthy of his most holy name. Amen.
Prayer: Our Father which art in heaven, hallowed be thy name. Grant us the grace to give you your rightful place in our lives and all of our affairs. This I ask in Jesus’ name. Amen.