Looking around at the endless lines of metal wrapped people, all clad in damp paint under dull grey dawn, slowly inching forward into another day of work, I thought, "If God is always with me, where is he in the traffic?"
I couldn't see him in the lines of cars and vans and giant artics. Nor in the red glow of brake lights, the orange flash of indicators. Certainly not in the sky above, all sullen grey clouds and half-hearted drizzle.
I watched my fuel indicator slowly sink, and reflected that I was paying hard earned money to do my bit for world pollution, but I saw no God on the dashboard. There were symbols to tell me the lights were on, to tell me when the handbrake was engaged, even to remind me that the engine had a problem that no mechanic had yet been able to fathom. But nothing to reassure me that the divine presence was sharing my journey.
On the radio, politicians argued over the best solutions for insoluble problems, whilst news of the latest atrocity somewhere reminded me of what happens when people try and force their own solutions on others. Equal importance seemed given to England's latest sporting disaster: perhaps because at least this was a tragedy we can cope with. God did get mentioned, especially in the 'Thought for the day' slot. But he wasn't on the radio himself.
Was God with me in the traffic?
Perhaps I was looking in the wrong place. If he was with me, it wasn't in the car behind. Not in the mechanics or the electronics. Nor even in the passenger seat. Because God is not just with me. God is in me.
God with me is perhaps a much more intimate thing than I had realized. He is in me, not even as a separate presence inhabiting my body, but as part of me, delicately entwined round my thoughts and feelings and personality. Still God, but so very close that the distinction may be unclear at points. Especially if I’m not looking in the right place. And I am still me, but carrying with me a blessing, a grace, that has become so much part of my life that sometimes I’m not even aware of it.
And if God in me is so close, then perhaps there is another point where I am in God? Where I, trapped in this rather dull little segment of space-time, am connected with eternity?
I don’t have the sensory range to register that. I can’t feel, touch, see, hear or taste that realm. Yet, if God is with me, then I am in touch with more than I can imagine.
God is with me in the traffic, and this slow, damp, rather boring stretch of dual-carriageway is just a minuscule part of the journey we are on together.