Where is God?

Because of some family events the last several days, I’ve found myself wondering sometimes where God is. I’ve been teaching an online adult education course, and one of the questions I raised in it was this:

Is faith strengthened or tested when prayer and meditation have no feeling of divine presence during the act? If feeling is absent, especially for long periods, how can one know that God has listened and heard?

That’s not an easy question to ask…or to answer.

There were times when I felt that God was off somewhere else, listening to someone else–but not to me. My prayers seemed to go no further than the top of my head, and I really felt alone.

Oh, intellectually I knew that God was present because of past experiences, but my heart wasn’t so sure. I went back to read in some of my journaling and was reminded of a time when I felt God asking if I wanted the emotion of the experience or if I wanted the faith that would come from the experience. Ouch!

It’s easy to get addicted to wanting an emotional high. After all, we talk about “mountain-top experiences”…we focus on times and experiences when we have made special preparation and we know without a doubt that God’s presence is there. But those don’t happen every day.

As we go through our daily lives, we sometimes have go just slog through those times when simply putting one foot in front of the other can seem like a major chore…and we wonder where God is. But we’re not alone in that…not alone in finding it difficult to pray “your will, not mine.”

As I worried this last week, trying my hardest to pray “your will” and letting go of the one I loved–placing that individual into God’s care and keeping–I began to have a new appreciation of Christ’s prayer time in Gethsemane. He struggled then as well. Knowing what was facing him…knowing that he had spent his ministry trying to help others know of God’s love and care…he was still scared…still needing to know that God was with him.

If he struggled, then just maybe it’s okay for us to struggle as well. We don’t have to have all the answers; in fact, if we think we do, then we’re missing something significant in our life experience–and losing out on opportunities for ministry as we struggle both within ourselves and with others who have similar questions.

Jesus asked his friends to support him in Gethsemane…to be with him. They didn’t have to have answers; he just needed them to be present.

Sometimes that’s all we need as well…and all we need to offer to others.

Where is God? With our friends who support us in prayers…in presence…in tears…

God is found in the struggles and the questions…in the continued slogging, even when we’re not sure we can take one more step. God is in the persistence, even when it feels like no one’s listening and nothing’s happening. God is in the every-day-ness of life.

God is.

 

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3 thoughts on “Where is God?

  1. I really need this today Pam. My limits of ministry are being sorely tested right now. I find myself in tears and feeling lost and frustrated as my efforts to help someone in great need are rebuffed at many turns, even by her! Where is God? He is in me, knocking on doors, and I guess it isn’t up to me to answer the door I am knocking on in God’s behalf is it. Isn’t it up to the person on the other side of the door to answer? My real questions is, when do I give up and let go? At what point? How do I know I am not giving up too soon? What price is too high for sacrifice of time and self? I don’t want reward, I want results. I guess I want some kind of reassurance that God is working on the problem as hard as I am!?

  2. Boy, do I understand this! Yes, it is up to the other person to make the decision to answer…as much as we often would like to force them to answer.

    I wish I had an answer for your question as to when do you give up and let go… I reached that point of “letting go” when I realized I couldn’t change the individual–couldn’t wave a magic wand and make everything right. That didn’t mean that I stopped caring; it just meant that I realized the only thing I could do was place them in God’s care and keeping–and continue to hold them in prayers. I did some visualization of holding them in the light of God’s love–sounds kind of funny, but I visualized it as a sort of force field, offering them protection.

    What has kept me going at times is the knowledge that both I and the other have been held in prayers of love and support…and the statements that have come my way as well.

    Each one has to decide when the price is too high. Again, that doesn’t mean you stop loving them. It simply means that you acknowledge that you have done all you can and you have to leave the rest in God’s hands, knowing (and this is sometimes the hardest part) that God cares as much as you do. Sometimes you just have to go with head knowledge and let time help get it into heart knowledge.

    • Thank you! That helps me a lot. I too do visualization. I normally do it as a part of remote Reiki, but I haven’t thought about just adding it to my prayers on someone’s behalf. I will do that. I will do it for the dogs as well. She has 4 and one of them is mine! I can’t have my dog while I am living at my parents house, and I miss her so much. My friend has been caring for her for me, but now they are all in jeopardy, and I don’t want my collie to go to a shelter and be killed! It makes me sick just thinking about it, and it’s hard not to be angry with my friend for letting this situation happen. I know its not all her fault, her husband doesn’t plan his life out either. Now he is away at truck driving school, leaving her with no where to live, no money for food or transportation. From my efforts to find her a place for the dogs to be fostered, I found a lady who is paying for 4 weeks of motel at a pet friendly motel. And others are sending money for dog food, or actually plan to deliver dog food. Our MC pres is contacting the pastor who is closest to her location to coordinate some help with transportation and food. All this has been done my me, by email. I copy her on all the emails because all these people have questions that I can’t answer. And still as of this morning she has not even read the emails! I can’t make her do it, and I am exhausted. But…she has my dog….All I can do now is pray and visualize protection for her and the dogs. That is what I am going to do. thanks for sharing that, Pam! Blessings, Susan

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