Speaking to the soul

But from there you will search again for the Lord your God. And if you search for him with all your heart and soul, you will find him.
Deuteronomy 4:29 NLT

My walk with God can be like a game of hide-and-seek. God never disguises or hides from us, of course: instead, feeling embarrassed about meeting God, I can choose, as Adam and Eve did, to hide. Or I ignore God until I come to my senses or so miss God’s warm embrace that I confess to whatever is keeping me from him.

So often I am caught up in the moment, or the project I’m pursuing, that while I may be committed to God, I’m not conscious of his presence. The Benedictine monk David Steindl-Rast suggests we ask ourselves, at least twice a day, the simple question: “Isn’t this surprising?” Its purpose is to awaken us to seek God’s presence within all that consumes our immediate attention.

The question provokes us to find God in life. It reminds me I am already redeemed and invited to live life through God’s kingdom lens. Rast states that we may not like being awakened to the reality of our immediate circumstances. The surprise may be more nightmare than pleasure. Yet, as a cold shower might prove unwelcome, it acts as a stimulus for my whole body, jump-starting me out of my mental reverie into clear consciousness. I can be grateful for this. Without it I could walk past Jesus in the crowded thoughts that engulf me, failing to cry out. I might miss my healing moment as Jesus passes by.

Once aware of the moment I find myself in on an otherwise unremarkable day, I am invited to consider and consult God, something I’d otherwise have missed. So, each day I insert the question: “Isn’t this surprising?” It precedes the contemplative silence that starts my day, accompanies me into my coffee break, and serves as a useful time for reflection as I take lunch with the Lord and finally as I close out my day before bed.


Will you find times in your day to ask yourself: “Isn’t this surprising?”


Thank you for being present, even when I fail to notice you, Lord.