Introductory Note:

“Somewhere in the midst of my busy, distracted days is a loving God ... Did I even notice?” 
I love the way Keith Riley draws us into a different way of going through the day. A way of seeing. A way of gratitude. A way that orients us to God’s love for us and buoys us up to be a loving presence to others. The sacred potential of each moment is a gift too good to waste. May we have eyes to see!

Grace Pouch
Content Manager

One of the great things about a summer day is the abundance of light. The extended sunlight makes you feel free, less scrupulous about your minutes. There seems to be limitless time to explore, to be outside. Time to truly enjoy. I love the extra light in summer because it means more opportunities to delight in ordinary pleasures. 

In a recent sermon, I invited the congregation to think about the sacred ordinary of everyday life. What I mean by sacred ordinary is that the wonders right around us speak to us of God. We live in a God-soaked world. 

God, the great Creator and Sustainer of life is ever-present in your day. The demonstration of that reality is one of the great gifts that Jesus gives disciples (his first disciples, and all of his disciples since). In The Divine Conspiracy, Dallas Willard talks about how our awareness of God’s presence and goodness can grow as we come to see as Jesus saw:

To his eyes this is a God-bathed and God-permeated world. It is a world filled with a glorious reality, where every component is within the range of God’s direct knowledge and control — though he obviously permits some of it, for good reasons, to be for a while otherwise than as he wishes. It is a world that is inconceivably beautiful and good because of God and because God is always in it. It is a world in which God is continually at play and over which he constantly rejoices. Until our thoughts of God have found every visible thing and event glorious with his presence, the word of Jesus has not yet fully seized us.”1

I can easily forget this remarkable reality in my life. 

I oversleep and run late for my first meeting of the day. Now in a frantic mode, I blow past the beauty of flowers, the smell of a coffee shop, or the joy of a conversation. I’m too busy worrying about how to catch up” on my schedule. 

Besides being busy, the presence of certain technologies in my daily routine can be a constant distraction from the present moment and the Presence in front of me. My phone connects me to friends all over the world, but it can also disconnect me from the sacred human right in front of me. 

Somewhere in the midst of my busy, distracted days is a loving God — constantly pursuing me with overtures of tenderness and soul-nurturing experiences. Did I even notice?

Noticing God takes intentionality and openness on our part. It is easy to miss the good gifts that God holds out each and every day. But there are spiritual practices that can help us stop and pay attention, receive the gifts, find God. Handed down by Christ himself and Christians across the ages are simple ways to turn our attention to every good and perfect gift … coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights.”2 

Here’s one to explore:

  • At the end of a day, run back over the day in chunks: morning, midday, afternoon and evening. 
  • Think about what you enjoyed eating and drinking. Recall the friends you spent time with, the highs of your day, and even the difficult moments. 
  • Then hold your day in prayer before God. 
    Where did you experience God’s love in your day? Was it in the smile of a loved one, the sun on your face, or the delightful taste of that ice cream? 
  • Look back on your day with curiosity and grace. There is no need for shame or regret. Instead, pray, God, help me to see your gifts to me in this day.”

I was able to practice this recently on a gloriously long summer day. Here were some of the good gifts of God’s love to me: the smell of redwood trees in the sun, the taste of my morning coffee, a text message from a good friend, watching my daughter play at the beach, seeing her smile and laugh, the cool ocean breeze, the sunset, and the taste of tacos at the beach. 

In each of these good things, I was able to look back and imagine God smiling at me with delight as I enjoyed the goodness of the day. 

Get out and enjoy the final week of summer. God’s love is waiting for you in the midst of your sacred, ordinary day.

  1. Dallas Willard, The Divine Conspiracy: Rediscovering Our Hidden Life in God (New York: Harper Collins 1997). ↩︎
  2. James 1:17NIV ↩︎

Photo by freestocks on Unsplash

Text First Published September 2023 · Last Featured on September 2023