My friend Rachel, who is wise beyond her years (or at least wise beyond what I was at her age!) recently shared this thought with our Bible study group: God wants us to understand that we don't have to pray for His presence, because He is everywhere. What we need to pray for is an awareness of His presence, eyes to see, a heart that is open.
This is especially relevant for people dealing with serious illness, and the loved ones caring for them. I have spent a considerable amount of time in waiting rooms recently, supporting a friend who has cancer. And God is there.
Looking at the faces around me, I often wonder if they know God is present. Not just for those of us called "Christians" but for everyone.
Then two questions come to mind...first, those faces around me - the ones who question or can't feel His presence - do they see God in me? Do they see joy in the face of disease, hope in spite of a diagnosis no one wants a friend to hear, patience and a friendly countenance when waits are long, traffic is bad, people are short-tempered.
The second question is what do I see? Do I see the presence the God in people around me?
If God had a name what would it be?
And would you call it to his face?
If you were faced with Him
In all his glory
What would you ask if you had just one question?
I don't know what Joan Osborne had in mind when she wrote this song. For me, the words are a reminder that God unconditionally loves every beating heart. How much better would my part of the world be if I treated every interaction as if I was speaking to God? What if the glory of God surrounded every human encounter I had?
By neglecting to embrace selfless and unconditional attitudes, Christians often give God a bad name. I'm thinking He doesn't like that...just saying.
To be sure, there is a difference between having a rough day and having a mean spirit. Everyone has bad days...but even when you fake being Sister Super Christian, people know if you have a mean heart.
A friend recently shared that she was part of a Facebook group through her church. The group is studying a book about spiritual growth. My friend and the group's moderator had cross words - happens to all of us, right? So the moderator promptly removed my friend from the group...because that's what Jesus would do. Really? REALLY?
If God had a face what would it look like?
And would you want to see
If seeing meant that you would have to believe
in things like heaven and in Jesus and the saints
and all the prophets
Maybe it would look like that person you just cut off in traffic? Or the one you avoid at work because the negative talk irritates you? Or the kid in your neighborhood who just wanders the streets with a scowl on his face?
And if you took the time to look in to the hearts and minds of these people, would you be forced to believe that God unconditionally loves every beating heart?
If I can look in the face of the hard-working folks I encounter at stores, restaurants, etc, and be nasty to them, do you think they care that I go to church every Sunday? Doubtful.
I do all the things int the world definition of a "good Christian" - read my Bible, go to church, give money, volunteer in several ways, even sing as part of the worship team.
But none of that means squat if I can't see the presence of God all around me...in people, in weather, in small miracles that occur daily.
And yeah, yeah, God is great
Yeah, yeah, God is good
Yeah, yeah, yeah-yeah-yeah
What if God was one of us?
Just a slob like one of us
Just a stranger on the bus
Trying to make his way home
It's true - He is both the almighty God and the man on the bus. He is good and great, and is looking for others who identify themselves as his followers to be the same. He is not a slob, but He can be found in the heart of every slob, every homeless person, every store clerk or garbage collector.
Do I see it? Do I seek an awareness of God's presence only for my own benefit? Or do I want to see God in others, treat people like Jesus did, love extravagantly?
How about you?
See you tomorrow...Beth