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Ok. Well. He might be, but that just begs the follow up question “Does anybody know where Heaven is?”

Just before I leave the house I always engage in my three-pocket-check ritual. The holy trinity of ‘making sure’.

Keys.

Wallet.

Phone.

Keys front right. Wallet back right. Phone back left.

There, if you were planning on mugging me some time, you now have a ready-made road map to where the goods are! Anyway, on the assumption you are a nice person and not a thief doing research we will move on.

I feel assured just by knowing that the items are where they should be, and am free to carry on the rest of the day safe in the knowledge that everything is where it should be.

Every now and again though there is something that upsets the equilibrium of the universe. I have to wear a different pair of trousers. I know. Shocking.

I have to wear a suit which does not have enough pockets, or am off to play sport in joggers or shorts, or I am using a bag (a butch, macho back-pack you understand, not a ‘man-bag’ of any sort). In any one of these instances I spend a crazy amount of time the rest of the day checking and rechecking the exact location of my keys, wallet and phone. Anyone who has swapped their usual bag, changed routine, emptied their pockets at airport security will know exactly what I am talking about.

For years, religious people, and non-religious people did a quick ‘God-check’ before they left the house each morning too. “Yup, he is in the heaven….carry on”.

This meant that people believed God was up in the stars somewhere, physically removed from their location, homes, dirt and office. This meant that meant that people assumed God was sat on a large seat, probably made of gold and having grapes popped into his mouth in a large throne room with much better things to be doing that worrying himself with what they were up to, or what their problems were. This meant that people would pay attention to God every now-and-again in the hope that he would be glad they turned up to church and sang some christmas carols and so would give Santa permission to drop presents off at their house again this year. This meant that people soon forgot about God.

Carry on. He is where I think he should be and everything is safe.

But.

What if he isn’t in that pocket?

What if a profound truth about God is that he is not in heaven, nor does he want you to think that is where he is?

Many years ago a small shepherd boy from the countryside won a national contest to become the king of the country. Now that’s a proper prize!

The kid was a bit of an all-round superstar. Good looking, a great leader and prize fighter, but also in touch with his feminine side and able to discus his feelings and write incredible, profound, beautiful poetry.

Reflecting on the whereabouts of God one day he came to the conclusion that “where can I go from you God? If I go to the highest height, you are there. If I go to the deepest depth, you are there.”

If I go to the pub, he is there. If I go to the school gates, he is there. If I watch the sunset over the sea, stroll down the busy city street, turn up at an interview, stare at my disappointing spouse, open my exam paper, pour a coffee…he is there.

If I love; he is there. If I laugh, hurt, dream, fear, hope, cry, dance…

He. Is. There.

That’s huge. It means that grace is always present. Joy is always present. Hope is always present. Forgiveness is always present. Peace is always present. Creativity is always present. God is always present.

The other night our little girl had her first nightmare. While I was watching the rugby 9where England were also having a nightmare!) she suddenly screamed at the top of her voice “DADDY!” It took me a matter of seconds to bound up the stairs and swoop her up into my arms and make everything ok again.

I hated the whole experience. It made me realise I was not there when she needed me. It took me seconds to get there, and I realsied right then that there will be many other moments in her life that I am not able to help at all.

I am a father with limits.

What if God was a Father with none.

Maybe his presence could be surrounding you right now. Maybe today you could be the expression of his presence to someone who cant quite see it yet. Maybe he is sat with the homeless guy down the road right now. Maybe he is sheltering with the abused woman, maybe he is staring at the bottom of the bottle with the stressed manager, maybe he is crying at the photograph of the dad just moved out of the house with the lonely teenager, maybe he is doing the dishes with the tired parent.

Maybe. Cos he is not in my pocket.