If we want to die well, to die into God, so to speak, we need to start working on our relationship with God (and with others) while we are young and healthy, rather than waiting until death is knocking at the door. Developing a relationship with God takes time and sacrifice, conversion and repentance, discipline and prayer – just as it takes time, discipline, practice, and self-sacrifice to reach proficiency in a sport, in music, or in a profession. Of course, God is always present, closer to us than our own jugular vein, as the Qur’an says. But the problem is that usually we are not tuned into God. To use an analogy: we are surrounded by radio and television waves, but if we do not tune in a receiver we can’t hear the message. So also with God. God is always present, but without a tuned receiver we can’t communicate with God. Tuning into the receiver means tuning ourselves into God. And this means eliminating self-centredness and moving toward God-centredness. Jesus calls this move repentance or conversion, a total change of mind and heart. Usually this takes years of prayer and discipline, not just weeks and months.
– Terence Nichols, Death and Afterlife: A Theological Introduction (Brazos: 2010), pp. 13-14.
I like this quote because it provides a good possible explanation for people’s failure to have a strong sense of the presence of God. I also like it because it gives me a picture of what I might strive toward in learning to ‘tune in’ to God.