A friend once asked me where God was during his turmoil. He was going through a large upheaval in his life; he couldn’t see anything beyond the obstacles he faced. He felt physically, emotionally, and spiritually exhausted. “Is God even near me in all of this?” he grieved. “No.” I responded.
We sometimes forget the extremity of Jesus’ language. For Jesus, the cross is hard and cruel. It was not an easy thing to carry. For Jesus, the cross was the place of his rejection and death. It is to this place that Jesus bids us to follow. Is it any wonder, then, that the cross is hard reality in our lives? We feel it viscerally pressing against us. The cross upsets our lives. What is more, taking up our cross means we may need to walk with it for a while. This can be involve walking a difficult and sometimes lonely path. Yet despite all of this, taking up our cross is an act of radical hope.
What are some of the good things of God that you would like to experience? What do you hope for? Do you seek those loving gifts from our heavenly Father? Or do you assume that such blessings will be withheld? Despite God making God’s way to you in the person of Jesus, and offering you the purest expression of love and grace imaginable, do you still assume that you must earn your keep?
Tucked in the pages of the Old Testament is a beautiful picture of King David sitting before God. Immediately following his rebuke by the Prophet Nathaniel scripture records that “King David went in and sat before the Lord” (2nd Samuel 7:18). The verse is simple and uncomplicated. It’s easy to miss. Yet the common-place nature of the verse suggests it to be an action that David preformed countless times before. David knew exactly where to go to connect with the Lord. When David felt an inward desire to be in God’s presence, he journeyed to a sacred spot and sat down.
Here's the truth of the matter: our life with God is simple. Simplicity, as defined by Richard Foster, is a “single hearted focus on God and God’s kingdom.” What this means is that we reach out to Jesus as the very basis of our lives. This is where we start. Yes, external frameworks can help us, yet they must be secondary to our primary task of simply reaching out to Jesus.
Do you find that fear limits you from stepping boldly into the new life that Jesus calls you into? When we focus too much on that fear, or the lies it tries to tell us, we can easily get stuck in our faith. We may look at opportunities before us and believe that we are not ready or able to do what God asks. The truth is God’s grace often shines most brightly through the imperfect cracks of our lives.
Faith isn’t lived from the miraculous to the miraculous. Sure, Moses’ had an experience of the Burning Bush, but his faith in God only grew in the 40-year slog of an everyday journey. More often than not, our faith is couched in the ordinary. Our faith grows amid a life where nothing miraculous seemingly take place. Why, then, do we make such miraculous experiences the definitive mark of faith?
As a priest, I have witnessed myriads of strangers randomly stop by and ask to sit in the church. It happens more than one would think. They sit in silence, and leave in silence, often with some tears in their eyes. And because I give them space, never hovering over them or forcing a conversation, I have always wondered about their story. What drove them to sanctuary? I now have a better understanding. I get it. Like a child who desperately needs the presence of a parent, sometimes we just need to sit in God’s house.
I hate packing. I mean, I utterly loath it. I find no delight in putting all my possessions in a series of boxes only to move them to a new location and then take them out again. The whole process is daunting and exhausting. This is what I have been living with for the past … Continue reading Home Assurance
It would be years before I came across that reading again and the reminder of a prayer I lost the hope to pray. A prayer that God answered in a way I could never have imagined. My dear ones had not only made peace, but now laughed together and cared for one another.