Having grown up regularly attending Sunday School and Vacation Bible School, I recall my teachers often mentioning this: “God is watching!”
My child-mind imagined “God is watching” meant something like this: “In a place far away (and unknowable by you), God’s telescopic vision enables Him to see everything you do, so you’d better behave.”
My child-mind reasoned if God was far away, His telescopic vision might turn from me for a moment. During that moment, I might “get away” with something I wanted to do, but believed would be labeled “bad.”
The idea that God was in the room with us was never entertained by me or taught by my teachers. The thought of every movement and action happening in the very “face of God” was perhaps a bit too much for my teachers and was definitely more than I could imagine.
Julian of Norwich, one of my favorite devotional writers, describes all of creation as a walnut in the palm of God, a creation regarded with love by a “courteous” God.
Knowing God is omnipresent—present everywhere at all times—is at once comforting and troubling. Questions are raised by this knowledge. Why does a holy God tolerate the madness and atrocities that must offend His presence on a daily, hourly, and moment-by-moment basis? One might at the same time ask why we tolerate these things. Does God see more than we see in the events that surround us daily?
Lately, I have reminded myself three or four times per hour (usually silently if I’m with others): “God is in the room with me.”
This exercise informs me that everything I am and everything I am becoming is within God’s constant view. It is impossible for me to be forgotten, ignored, or overlooked by God. I do not have to ask God to “look down” from somewhere, because while God is in Heaven, God is also in the room (or car, or train, bus, etc.) with me.
Knowing this truth has restrained my speech, encouraged me to take necessary but difficult actions, and allowed me to easily drift off to sleep at the appropriate time.
Knowing God is “in the room with me” has revolutionized my prayer life. I no longer need to outline or explain my situation to God as a part of my prayer. God was right there when it all happened, or was all said, or all planned, etc.
Knowing that my entire self is open and present to the “face of God” means my daily experience is one in which I “live, move, and have my being” in God. I exist in Him. I am His creature and have no possibility of existence away or apart from Him. I cannot hide or obscure any part of myself from God. His presence, His observation, and His insight are beyond my ability to block or limit or redirect.
Knowing that God is always “right there” means it is possible for me to be totally honest, totally authentic, and totally the self He created me to be. It’s the beginning of knowing and living the life I was created to have.