Thursday, April 03, 2008

Seeing God

This was a weird week for me for a number of reasons. I won't get into it all, but I sit down tonight, writing this post to flush out the spiritual lesson that's there. Somewhere.

Today I buried another uncle. As I thought back to the last 5 years, I realized just how many funerals I've attended, and the number was high. Too high. All but three were quite sudden and four of them were people entirely too young to die. My cousins, who knew for two years their dad would die young, handled themselves well today. Better than I would if I lost my father... (and that is just something I can't think about.)

Then tonight I had a joyous reunion with a dear old friend from college. We're were next door neighbors in the dorm, acted and sang on the same stage together, cried in the hallway together, prayed for each other and encouraged each other. It was so good to see her. It was good to see how far we've both come. We were just kids back then, and we thought we were the ****. Now we know better. Part of me wishes I knew better back then. Part of me wouldn't touch those memories for the world.

These kinds of ups and downs are simply a part of life. And for me it's much easier to find God in the upside of things. We know God is good. We understand that he only wants the best for us. "If God is good, why do bad things happen?" is a question for the ages. This seemingly unanswerable question is the reason so many refuse to believe in a higher power. Why bad things happen is not I question I ask myself anymore. My faith is past that point, and for that I am thankful.

So where I am at right now is looking for God IN the bad stuff.

It sounds weird, but stay with me. I think I have a point.

I can always find him after I've gone through the muck and come out a little dirtier, and a little wiser. It's easy for me to look back and see where God moved, how he used the bad to make "all things good". But while I'm rolling around in the muck? Not so much. I look to myself, my family members and friends for perspective during those time, relying on my strength and their strength. I look at what is right there in front of me - the actions, the words spoken, the feelings we all experienced. But rarely do I look for God in there. But after today, I know he's in there.

I know he's in the bad stuff just as much as he is in the good stuff. He's not missing, I'm just not looking for him. To quote a line from what is quite possibly my favorite TV show:

Joan: Do you always go around appearing to people?
God: Minor correction. I'm not appearing to you. You are seeing me.


Are you seeing God? Is your view of him large enough for you to be able to say "yes"? I worry that mine isn't.

4 comments:

steph! said...

Oh Steph, I'm so sorry to hear about your uncle. And I think that's true for everyone - you have clarity and can see the lessons from a situation after the fact, but when you're in the middle of it your emotions are all tangled up and in the way. I've pondered on this same dilemma many times, and I'm just not sure that you can really gain clarity when you're in the middle of it. Maybe some people can, but I know I am pretty incapable of it.

Kansas Bob said...

I liked this..

"I'm not appearing to you. You are seeing me."

..It puts things in perspective.

Sympathies to you and your family on the loss of your uncle.. prayers for comort and peace.

stephanie said...

Sorry for my late reply -

Maybe you're right, steph, maybe it can't be done. And I'm not sure I'm really even looking for a sense of clarity. I think it's more about me wanting to see God move as it happens instead gathering the hindsight that is typically 20/20. I say that because while I know God is not a God of chaos, I do know that being a follower of Christ is messy.

And I really think it's just about me wanting to see another characteristic of God that I haven't been able to see yet. Yet I'm not even sure what that characteristic is. It's still something I'm sorting out... I think that's why I write about it so much... to do the sorting.

KB - the show is called "Joan of Arcadia", written by the same writer from "Judging Amy". She's a Roman Catholic, and the two seasons it was on the air, it was great to see all the struggles we deal with internally happen on screen in a TV show. It's worth renting if you have the chance. Season 1 in particular.

Kansas Bob said...

I think that I watched one episode of Joan.. not sure why I didn't watch more..