“The Kingdom of God is within you.”
~ Luke 17:21
"I just wish God would do something," a woman shared with me yesterday as we sat next to the bed where her husband of forty years lay dying. "I don't understand why God is not hearing my prayers."
One thing that I never try to do is explain why God is, or is not, doing something. We cannot force God to do anything. God comes to us in God's own way. I have learned over the years that no discipline, effort or solitary practice can make God come to us. Prayer always is about grace. Grace is that free gift from God that leaves us with gratitude, but for this woman, she was wanting more than just God to "grant" something. She wanted a miracle.
She then began to share with me that she is coming to understand that this is somehow, "God's will."
It is not uncommon for us to reason away our faith as being God's will when something doesn't result in a way that we want. It is our human nature to somehow place the ills of the world as some sort of punishment or retribution for our failures.
Living beyond the resurrection invites us into an intimate relationship with God through Jesus Christ. That relationship requires us to live into our faith, rather than question it. It means that we don't get into the habit of relinquishing the things that we cannot control into some eternal plan, rather, it is about living into eternity understanding that God will always be with us, even when we encounter struggles.
The beauty of understanding that our life is not lived for a period of time, but is the beginning of eternity, leaves us looking at life in a different way. Our mortality is something we cannot deny.
While it is easy for us to welcome this understanding, it is difficult when it involves someone sitting beside the bed of a loved one, watching the person die.
I'm thankful in knowing that this woman is not alone on this journey, surrounded by several friends and family. In some way, their presence made it possible for me to say, "and God has made sure that you are surrounded by people who love you."
We will always remain the center of God's presence, even when we are unaware.
Stay in God's grip!
G. Todd Williams (c) 2019
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.