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When Life Happens


Where is my God, where is your God, where is our God when we are bombarded daily with accounts of mass killings at home and abroad committed by known and unknown persons? Has God turned God’s back on the world as countless numbers of the world’s most vulnerable members are at risk increasingly of becoming homeless and destitute? Does God not care about our children; our elderly; our widows and widowers; our emotionally, mentally, and physically challenged? When life happens, it is often so easy to say, “but God”.


What should a life, premised on a relationship with God, reveal about our character and integrity? When we survey all that comprises life – consequences of elections, devastation in the aftermath of storms, catastrophic illnesses, family interruptions and disruptions – what might our initial reaction reveal about us?


Since it has been said that confession is good for the soul, I offer this personal summary of a self-centered experience that disclosed something about my character of which I was not pleased. It was a warm clear summer day. As I walked home from the gym after an almost hour workout, the smell of smoke filled the air and the direction of the flames suggested the fire was in my neighborhood. My initial thought was Lord, my computer with all of my work is in my home. Although only a nanosecond, at that moment my concern was all about me. Questions about a life informed, influenced and lived in communion with others emerged for which often there is often no prescribed blueprint to follow. As we prepare for new beginnings, consecrations and ministerial appointments, births and celebrations of life, we are invited and challenged to discover afresh what is required of us to live more faithfully into our covenant vow to love others in a manner that reflects our professed relationship with the divine.


We are reminded daily that we have not been promised a utopian existence. A question for us is where is the Lord leading us. For some of us, this may mean taking a leap of faith and risking further alienation as we stand literally and metaphorically on the banks of the Rio Grande as persons seek asylum in the United States. Others of us may have been placed on circuitous paths with strategic points of intersection that will call into question our own identity and way of being, thinking, and feeling. The very idea that all humans may not be created in God’s image may find us gathered at tables where we may be considered less than.


For such a time as this, be encouraged. With a hope and faith that is anchored in God, trust the Lord to show you that which is not obvious, to equip you for service to and with persons whom others deem less than, to hear and respond to the deep hurts that causes this created world to moan and groan. In the midst of all of life’s uncertainties, disappointments, sadness, there is yet a glimmer of joy, hope, and trust. It is this blessed assurance that pursues us as we seek always to open ourselves up to being stretched, pushed and pulled by God as active participants in God’s always unfolding kin-dom.


When life happens, take a deep breath, exhale slowly, and be attentive to where God is leading.
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