While in God's Grip!
"As you sent me into the world, I have sent them into the world."
~ John 17: 18
Sometimes I wish that life were easier. Less stress, no worries. Hopefulness realized, and joy overflowing. The Psalmist on many occasions begins with the chapter with a question. Often it has to do with "waiting," "wandering," or the feeling of "abandonment."
And then through the course of the chapter, problems are identified, and often by the end of the Psalm, there is the reality that God is present, even in the midst of uncertainty.
In talking with the sister of a patient of mine this week, she shared how her husband died just over a year ago, and then her sister "reappeared," and needed a place to stay. The woman had been estranged from the family for many years, "showed up," just two weeks after the death of the sister's husband and needed a place to stay. Her sister thought, "How good it will be to have her home with me."
Little did they realize the woman was very sick, and in less than a year's time would find that the woman who just lost her husband would now be caring for her sister who was dying.
She laughed as she told me, "You don't know how strong of a tea bag you are until you find yourself in hot water."
Being the living Christ in the world today takes on so many images. So much of the time I am a witness to God's presence of Christ in the world, and then sometimes, I find myself like the Psalmist asking, "Where are you God in all of this?"
I was always taught that I am not to question God, or "why things happen?" Just to accept, pray, and move on. (I have since learned just how this kind of theology is so unhealthy!)
Since becoming an adult, spending time working with the homeless on our city streets, walking the hallways of a hospital trauma unit, and now as a hospice chaplain, there are many things that I have encountered where I catch myself asking God, "Why?"
I have learned that being Christ in the world means that we don't always find that we are "comfortable," with our neighbor. It means that we fail to just "accept," and "move on," when bad things happen. If we are truly to be the living instruments of Christ in the world, then we will find that we get angry at times, doubt ourselves, and struggle to understand the actions of others.
It is not a sin to fail to see others as living instruments of Christ. The sin happens when we fail to realize the strength of our presence as Christ in a world and to see and do nothing at all.
I try to imagine how Jesus must have felt, walking among his own creation, and how uncomfortable he must have been at times. I think of the times when my children were younger, and sometimes I would just "pray," that they would "behave," during an important gathering. I can only imagine the times that Jesus looked around and thought the same thing of us.
But then there is this text in John, where Jesus reminds God, "As you have sent me into the world, I have sent them into the world."
Not only are we to be the living instruments of God, but we are to live as Christ in the world as well.
I'm not sure where I am heading with today's blog. Perhaps it is my own struggle of trying to understand how this paradigm must work, when I am struggling, and leaning more towards the beginning of the Psalm and asking, "Where are you God in all of this?"
Stay in God's grip!
G. Todd Williams (c) 2020
Rev. G. Todd Williams lives in the Houston metro area and is a Hospice Chaplain and ordained Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) pastor.