WHEN IS GOD CLOSE?
Seek God where He is to be found, call Him when He is close.
The sages were puzzled by this verse. When is God not close?
Surely God is everywhere. Their answer was profound. God is always close to us, but we are not always close to God.
At some point in life, every reflective human being will ask three fundamental questions: Who am I? Why am I here? How then shall I live? Whether we believe, or don’t believe, these are religious questions.
Science can tell us how life began, but it can
never tell us what life is for. Anthropology can tell us the many ways in which people have lived, but it can never tell us how we should live. Economics and business studies can tell us how to generate wealth, but they cannot tell us what to do with the wealth we have made. The various sciences, natural, social, or human, can tell us how, but not why.
The ‘why’ questions ask us to lift up our eyes beyond the immediate, in search of the ultimate. The name we give to the ultimate is God.
The search for meaning at its heart is a religious quest. God is always close to us, but we are not
always close to God. How then do we come close to Him? By living righteously.
‘We will do, then we will understand,’ said the Israelites at Mount Sinai. So it is in all matters of the soul. We learn to love music by listening to music. We learn to be generous by performing acts of generosity.
‘The heart follows the deed.’
Don’t expect to have faith or find God by waiting for Him to find us. We have to begin the journey. Then God meets us halfway.
There are many ways of finding God, and many paths to the Divine presence. Prayer, bible study, doing good deeds, charity, social justice, and developing your character in positive ways. Faith is the circumference of a circle at whose center is God.
There are many ways to God. Where we begin doesn’t matter, so long as we begin. However long we live, life is short, too short. Every day matters. Our days on earth are too few to waste even one. Every day in which we do not take some step toward God is a day lost.
Jonathan Sacks (adapted)