Joy in the Moment
God reveals himself to us in as mysterious a manner in the most ordinary circumstances, and as truly and adorably as in the great events of history or of holy scripture.
–J.P. de Caussade, Abandonment to Divine Providence 
Oh, to be five years old again. When you’re five, most of the world is new; kindergarten is fun and something to look forward to each day. Learning is new, too. Nowadays at school, if you’re five, you get to learn to read. This newly acquired skill transforms all the books of the library into new frontiers for exploration. When you’re five, you sometimes forget what day it is—or your lunch box—because there are more immediate things to do and exciting people to see. Boredom is a rare thing, yet just before it sets in, big brother hops into the room, ready for battle with his plastic light saber just in case you’re interested in a duel. Issues and worries those grown-ups focus on—bills, careers, politics, the next visit to the dentist—are non-issues when you’re five. From new words, to new technology, to a new day, all of life is full of new possibilities and new experiences.
Have you ever wondered what it would be like to go back? Maybe not to re-live those years, but perhaps to experience again those moments of grand optimism, carefree trust in others, and intense wonder we find in children that age? If you dare to do so and allow yourself to imagine what it would feel like to not only be free of worry, but to live each day as an adult with the same joy, optimism, and carefree disposition you once felt as a child, then you will experience a spiritual disposition Jean Pierre de Caussade calls abandonment.
Caussade, an 18th century Jesuit preacher and teacher, was necessarily familiar with Ignatian spirituality—a set of principles and commitments to the Christian faith developed by the 16th century soldier-turned-mystic, Ignatius of Loyola. One of the key tenants of Ignatian spirituality is the admonition to “find God in all things.” Drawing from several texts in Scripture that speak to God’s presence and movement in the world, Ignatius invites disciples of Jesus to reflect on the day, with all the encounters that the day may hold, and explore how God was present. With the help of prayerful reflection at the end of each day, disciples are asked to imagine how God may have been present in the various moments of their day. Like in the voice of a friend sharing a word you needed to hear, or an encounter with a stranger who needed your Christlike spirit of love and concern, or in a moment of wonder where you experienced the beauty of God’s created order, every moment contains the potential to be an expression of the presence of God.
In his commitment to this and the other principles in Ignatian spirituality, Caussade recognized that peace of spirit and a profound sense of contentment are gifts God grants us when we choose, out of obedience and faith, to release the future to God. Caussade is not suggesting we abdicate our responsibilities. Instead, he is asking you and me to choose to trust God. To imagine and embrace the truth that God can be trusted. Dietrich Bonhoeffer said that disciples “know not only that they may not and cannot worry, but also that they need not worry.”  What comes naturally to children, adult disciples of Jesus learn to do by choice. We get to choose each day how we will see the world.
What would happen if you saw each meaningful moment of your day as a potential expression of the presence of God? How would your view of the world, or your job, or your family change if you chose to seek God in those encounters? Our faithfulness invites us to imagine God’s presence in ways we would have never done so as a child. Given the turmoil and brokenness so evident in our culture today, Caussade’s Ignatian insight helps us look for God in places we may have never looked before and, by his grace and mercy, find him.
Header image: “Hidden Flame.” Copyright Ben Pickett, 2014.
 Jean-Pierre de Caussade, Abandonment to Divine Providence, trans. by E. J. Strickland (San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 2011), 48.
 Dietrich Bonhoeffer, “Discipleship” in Dietrich Bonhoeffer Works, vol. 4, edited by J. D. Godsey and G. B. Kelly (Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 2003), 166.