Lent - "God-with-us"
"Praise be to God, who has not rejected my prayer or withheld his love from me!"
~ Psalm 66:20
One of the things that I am discovering through current events is that my anxiety is causing me to "overthink," even the simplest of tasks. We wonder if each person we encounter could be the source of a virus that seems to be moving throughout the world.
The pressures of living in the world right now makes us react to questions and problems in much different ways. I have encountered a number of people who are bitter, have resentment, and even hatred. Blaming one another for not "taking greater steps," to ensure that others are "safe." We watch briefings by "experts," and fall into the pits of cynicism.
I have to be careful not to lose my way. While I find that I am faithful, I struggle with the reality that I am doing just that... struggling.
We look at the world and wonder. "God, I know that you are the God of the brokenhearted, but what about being the God of a broken world?"
I am discovering that we aren’t questioning this with words, but our behavior betrays us.
We say to a friend, “I will pray for you.” But we walk away without any sense of a commitment to pray because we have doubts about prayers being answered.
We remember that we are called to be in communion with God, but somewhere deep down we really believe that it is action, not prayer, that will satisfy our needs. We may think prayer is good when there is nothing more important to do, but we have strong reservations and doubts about God’s effectiveness in our world, of God’s personal interest in us. We are no longer conscious of God-with-us.
Having shared this, I am reminded that this journey is opening us up to something greater. The farmer must till the earth, breaking it open, to prepare the soil for planting. While I don't believe any of this is part of "God's plan," I do believe that there is indeed a seed being planted among us. It is being nurtured by hope. By God's own hand, pouring water that is washing over us. That there still exists the initial presence of peace.
Right now it is still a struggle to understand how it is that the world has been completely changed in just a matter of weeks. Perhaps now we are beginning to understand what the world was experiencing as "God-with-us," hung on a cross and looked to the heavens and asked, "Why have you forsaken me?"
We are praying for the words, "It is finished," at this point. To lead us to a new place, but while never forgetting that the One, "God-with-us," is indeed, present.
Stay in God's grip!
G. Todd Williams (c) 2020
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Rev. G. Todd Williams lives in the Houston metro area and is a Hospice Chaplain at Essential Hospice, Webster, Texas, and is an ordained Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) pastor.