Lately, I have been contemplating how God manifests Himself in our lives.  For me, it is an incredibly personal relationship which provides me solace.  I sense His answers to my prayers in the quiet moments.  I feel His love during prayers, in the changing colors of the season, and in the awakening of the sun.

However, for others, God does not present in the same way.  Prayers are perceived to be unheard.  Questions as to the meaning of existence seem to be unanswered.  To some, God is perceived to be distant and unapproachable – someone who does not involve Himself in day to day trivial matters important to the believer.

Why is this so?  Why does God seem as close to some as the jugular vein and distant and unconcerned for others?  Is God neither or both?

For me, the answer seemed to be in one verse.  God tells us that He ” will not change the condition of a people until they change what is in themselves.”  Is then the answer in ourselves?  Does God then manifest Himself in our lives in the manner we see him?  For me, God is most merciful, generous, and loving.  God, in turn, has blessed me with answers to prayers, said and unsaid.  I feel His love everywhere – in the wondrous beauty of nature, in the smiles of children, and in the laughter of others.  God manifests Himself in my life in the way that I perceive him.

However, to those that find God distant, unapproachable and seemingly unconcerned with day to day matters, maybe the answer to a better relationship with God lies in changing our condition.  If we hold anger with God because of perceived slights or omissions, it is hard for us to, in the same space,  recognize the blessings God placed  in our lives let alone to express gratitude.  However, if we come to God believing in and thanking him for his mercy and generosity, maybe – just maybe God will manifest himself in our lives as kind, generous, responsive, and merciful .  When we do so, when we change our condition and operate from a  default position of gratitude, we allow God’s blessings to reach us.

Being grateful isn’t easy.  It takes conscious reflection of the every day ordinary blessings we so often take for granted. It requires a retraining of how we look at God, the world, and ourselves.  It calls for us to focus on solutions instead of being mired in the muck of our problems and negativity.  It demands a change in our mindset.  However, when we consciously look for those ordinary blessings, a magical thing happens.  The blinders come of, our vision is high definition, and we see other ways in which God’s blessings are manifested in our lives.  The blessings of gratitude then perpetuate itself in our lives in unimaginable ways.

But how do we do this? For me, I know I need to be better at expressing my sincere thanks in a meaningful way to people in my life who have been there for me.  While I am pretty good at expressing thanks for little things, I have never been good at thank you notes let alone remembering important dates.    I know I need to be better. We all can be better.  We all have people in our lives who we need to recognize and thank.  We all have taken our friends’ support for granted from time to time. How we do this is as individual as we are.  However, when we do, we open ourselves up to God’s grace, love, and mercy.  Isn’t that what we all want?