The way to union with God and the way of union with God. These two phrases at first sight seem identical. Are they really?
‘The way to union with God’ would imply that God is found only at the end of the journey. We struggle, we search, we saunter, we journey in doubt and in darkness, we get lost. But at the end of it all, when we have gone the whole way, we can heave a sigh of relief and say that we have found God! Viewed in this fashion, God seems to take a subtle sadistic satisfaction in seeing us slip and stumble and remain so distant and detached from us in our struggle.
‘The way of union with God’, on the contrary, means that all along the way God is present, not distant or absent, not indifferent or immune to our suffering and struggle, but One Who accompanies and journeys with us. Through sunshine and shadow, light and darkness, health and sickness, joy and suffering, agony and ecstasy, poverty and plenty, persecution or popularity, God is reaching out to us and can be found. He is not to be discovered only at the end of our struggle and search, but is ever present even in our trials and tribulations. God is to be found not only at the summit but all along the steep climb as well.
Each of us needs to discover our own personal way of union with God: the mother at home amidst the pots and pans; the factory worker at the assembly line; the traffic cop who controls the flow of traffic; the farmer who tills the earth; the professor as he pores over books; the athlete who trains on the field; the nurse in the hospital ward; the doctor in the operating theatre; the architect as he draws new blueprints; the engineer who designs fresh plans; the accountant who checks on figures; the priest as he spends himself for his people.
God is not a myth to be explored or exploded. He is rather a Reality to be awakened to and to become aware of His ‘distance’ lies in our inability to see His closeness. It is not we who wait on God; the astonishing but seldom acknowledged truth is that God waits on and for us!